It's one of the oldest unsolved homicides in Broome County and swirls around a young woman named Bessie Williams.

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Williams, a 19-year-old resident of Johnson City, went missing on November 4, 1983. Her remains were discovered nearly 17 months later in a wooded area in the Town of Barker in April 1985.

In an attempt to gather new leads, every few years New York State Police appeal to the public for information about the case. Williams, originally from Spring Valley in Rockland County, had recently relocated to Johnson City before her disappearance. She was last seen leaving her job at the Quality Inn in Endwell, where she had just collected her paycheck.

Nathan R Riegal via. New York State Police
Nathan R Riegal via. New York State Police

Authorities initially believed that Williams planned to take a bus home, but it appears she may have entered a vehicle with someone she knew instead. Former state police Capt. Carl Shaver stated in an interview several years ago that investigators suspected foul play from the beginning, as Williams never boarded the bus.

A breakthrough in the investigation occurred in the fall of 1983 when residents reported that a man's vehicle was towed from a nearby field bordering the area where Williams' remains were later found.

The man, described as a white male between 25 and 30 years old, stood approximately 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall and had a medium build with a pot belly. Witnesses remembered him wearing work boots, jeans, and a blue wind jacket. The car in question was a white hatchback, believed to be a late 1970s Ford, with a red or brown interior and New York license plates.

Extensive interviews conducted by the police over the years have failed to solve the case of who killed Bessie Williams.

New York State Police ask that anyone with knowledge or tips regarding the Bessie P. Williams homicide contact the Troop C Major Crimes Unit at 607-561-7497. All information provided will remain confidential.

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