Detectives Seek Public’s Assistance in Solving 1972 Cold Case

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News release from the Fairfax County Police Department

Mt. Vernon Police District – It has been 46 years since 12-year-old Karen Lee Spencer was found dead in the Huntington area of Fairfax County. Her death remains a mystery to our Major Crimes Bureau Cold Case Squad detectives who are seeking the public’s help to solve this cold case and bring resolution to Karen’s family. Karen’s murder is one of nearly 100 unsolved homicide cases that our detectives are investigating; this is one of our oldest cold cases.

Karen Lee Spencer

Watch this video for additional information about this murder, including where it took place.

Karen was last seen alive on Nov. 29, 1972. Her body was discovered on Dec. 2 by a group of young boys in what was then known as Fifer’s Field – a wooded area located southeast of what is now the Huntington Metro Station, between Mount Eagle Park and North Kings Highway. An autopsy showed Karen died from repeated blunt force trauma to the upper body.

Karen lived in the 2500 block of Belleview Avenue and attended Hayfield Secondary School. She would often play or hang out with many of the neighborhood children, including James “Jimmy” Edwards, who was 16 at the time of Karen’s death. Edwards died in the 1990s. Karen and other neighborhood children often spent time in Fifer’s Field and at the nearby Fairhaven 7-Eleven.

Our detectives are committed to solving this murder and continue to pursue leads and examine evidence with newly emerged technology. Anyone with information on Karen’s death or who may have been an associate of Karen or James Edwards is asked to contact our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by visiting, or calling 1-866-411-TIPS. They can also be sent in via text by texting “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES (274637). Text STOP to 274637 to cancel, or HELP to 274637 for help. Message and data rates may apply. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest or resolution of this case.

For ongoing updates, please read our blog and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @FairfaxCountyPD.

Cold Case- Karen Spencer