Mystery of Her 1982 Murder May Be Solved

Authorities in Georgia charge Marcellus McCluster in death of Rene Dawn Blackmore
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 9:15 AM CDT
Army Private's 1982 Murder May Be Solved
Rene Dawn Blackmore, who was an Army private at Fort Benning when she was murdered in 1982.   (Georgia Bureau of Investigation)

(Newser) – A long-unsolved murder of an Army private in Georgia may have been cracked. Authorities in Georgia have charged Marcellus McCluster, 64, with killing Rene Dawn Blackmore in 1982, when she was a private at Fort Benning, reports Fox 8. The 20-year-old Blackmore vanished while returning to her barracks on the night of April 29, 1982, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her sweater and wallet turned up a month later on the side of the road in Cusseta, less than 20 miles from Fort Benning. Her remains were found in June of that year by a logging road, and authorities say she was killed by a shotgun blast.

The 64-year-old McCluster—who is already in prison on an unrelated murder conviction from 1983—actually surfaced as a suspect within a year of Blackmore's death, per the New York Times. However, the case stalled, and no charges were filed. A special cold-case unit made up of retired investigators reexamined the case with Army investigators and others, though the team has not yet specified what led to the new charges. “There is no expiration date on that kind of evil,’’ said Kimberly Schwartz, an assistant district attorney for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, at a news conference announcing the development. (Read more cold cases stories.)

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