News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

At Lake Anne, Reminders of Reston's First Murder, a 50-Year-Old Cold Case

Last weekend, a series of signs were hung from the top of the Van Gogh Bridge near Lake Anne reminding passersby of Reston's first homicide, the strangling death of 17-year-old Gwen Ames in 1972. "Still no suspect? How come, FCPD?" the signs asked.

A Herndon High School junior, Ames was murdered early in the morning on June 4, 1972, walking home to Waterview Cluster from a dance held at Lake Anne Plaza as part of a weekend-long celebration of Reston's birthday. Our BFFs at Reston Patch published a timeline and other details in 2021.

The Ames family was one of the first to move to Reston, and her mother remained active in the community until her death in 2016, including playing a key role in the Embry Rucker homeless shelter.

The cold case is still open and posted on FCPD's website; one other murder from the same year was resolved in 2020.  Ames' cousin told Patch last year that the family still wants closure:

[Carol] Hertle-Sena reached out recently to FCPD's Cold Case Unit and spoke to the detective in charge of the case. She wanted him to know that despite the passage of time, Gwen Ames had family who are still waiting for answers.

"We still care. We still want to know what happened to her," she said. "Who did this? Somebody out there must know something, maybe the person that did it. Maybe he or she is long gone, but there has to be somebody in that area still. I just wanted him to know that her family up here in New York still thinks about her. We still care. We want closure."

It's not clear who posted the signs, which were quickly taken down. But (cue true crime podcast voice) the mystery remains unsolved. Information about submitting tips about this and other cold cases to Fairfax County Police is available here


  1. We always had our suspicions of who the killer was.

    1. Could you call the FCPD's cold case unit with that name? Even after all of these years, it might help. The investigation is still active. I am a family relative of Gwen, thank you.

  2. Our hearts break up here in NY… who killed her? Please come forth. Maybe the person is long gone but please give my family peace. We will not hold anything against anyone. We truly just pray for closure.


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