Crime - Sacto 911

Detectives need help in solving cold case killing of Sac High student

Mary London
Mary London Courtesy of Sacramento police

Detectives need help in locating a man who may help solve a 35-year-old cold case killing of a developmentally disabled Sacramento High School student.

Mary London, 17, was reported missing on Jan. 14, 1981, after she failed to show up for a scheduled ride after school. She was last seen near the school at about 3:30 p.m.

Her body was found the next day near San Juan Road and Airport Road. She had suffered stab wounds.

Thirty-five years is a long time. This might jog someone’s memory. We are hoping someone will come forward who can provide that one tip.

Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein

While detectives have revisited the case over the years, the motive for her killing is still unknown. Police believe there are people in the community who have information about her death and are asking them to come forward.

On Friday, the Police Department appealed for the community’s help in identifying a friend of the teen who was named “Darrell.” Darrell, who was African American, was in his early 20s at the time of the girl’s death, but today he would be about 57 years old.

Police stressed in a press release that Darrell is not a suspect and that detectives simply want to speak with him.

“These cold cases don’t close until we make an arrest,” said Sacramento police Sgt. Bryce Heinlein. “Thirty-five years is a long time. This might jog someone’s memory. We are hoping someone will come forward who can provide that one tip.”

London was a 10th-grader at Sacramento High School. Her stepmother, Gladys, went to pick her up at the school but was unable to find her that day 35 years ago.

London’s body was found at 7 a.m. the next morning. She was clad only in short white socks and one brown shoe.

The previous day she had been wearing a maroon turtleneck sweater and rust-colored corduroy pants, police said in 1981.

Her father owned and operated a shoeshine parlor at Ninth and J streets. Then-Sacramento High Principal Thea Stidum told The Bee after the girl’s killing that London had transferred from McClatchy High School and had no close friends at the school.

Stidum said that on the day of the girl’s disappearance, London had stayed to finish some work after her classes at the school ended at 2 p.m.

Stidum said that even though she had only been at Sacramento High for a short time, she was well known because of her “bubbly” nature.

“We haven’t found anyone who saw her leave school that day,” Stidum told The Bee in 1981.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office ruled that London was not sexually molested. She suffered two stab wounds in her chest.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews