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Man hopes $10,000 reward will help solve daughter's killing

HomicideHighway and Road DisastersTransportation Disasters

The father of a woman killed 37 years ago in her Severn home has put up a $10,000 reward, hoping to generate new leads to help police find her killer.

Phyllis Bohle was bludgeoned with a fireplace poker and stabbed on March 25, 1974, when she was 23. Traditional investigative methods and DNA tests have not led detectives to a suspect.

Omer "Bud" Gray, 83, said not a day goes by that he doesn't dwell on the crime, and miss his eldest child — who would be 61 now.

"It's been bothering me quite a bit, and the older I get, the worse it gets. I don't even sleep at nighttime without thinking about it," Gray said. "It just gets to me."

He'd like the case to be solved while he is still alive, a desire that prompted him to offer the reward.

With Gray's money, the reward is now $12,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of his daughter's killer. The other $2,000 is the standard reward from Metro Crime Stoppers.

Gray, who lives in Timonium, and the lead cold-case detective hope the enhanced reward will draw out information that someone has not disclosed.

In the years that elapsed since Bohle was killed, people may have new motivations, financial or otherwise, to tell police something they know or may have heard. Any fresh information could get the investigation moving, said cold-case Detective John Gajda.

Gajda has scoured police reports and files for anything that may have been missed as police interviewed and reinterviewed people, administered lie-detector tests and took advantage of increasingly sophisticated DNA testing.

Stacie Gray, 45, Bohle's youngest sister, said Bohle's unsolved slaying has tormented her long-divorced parents. The homicide, along with the accidental death of another daughter, have left them heartbroken.

"I think it has aged my parents tremendously," she said. Even now, she said, her parents are "extremely protective of me."

She was just 7 when her eldest sister was killed, and Gray says she has few memories of her. She recalls that both of her now-deceased older sisters used to take her on walks to a Two Guys department store on Ritchie Highway.

Bohle was married for three years to Michael Bohle, a liquor salesman, when she was killed. They lived in a brick home at the end of Locust Road, which was then a dirt road, near others in his family. The couple had no children.

A graduate of Archbishop Spalding High School, Bohle was killed on Maryland Day, a holiday from her job at the state Motor Vehicle Administration in Glen Burnie, her father said.

Gajda said her husband told police she was alive when he left for work about 10:30 a.m. A friend she was supposed to have lunch with found Bohle dead on the floor of the blood-spattered bedroom. Bohle had been beaten with a fireplace poker, and Gajda said police aren't sure if it was also used to stab her. At the time of her slaying, police said she had been stabbed six times in the chest.

"She put up a hell of a struggle," Gajda said.

Police don't know if the killing was linked to burglaries in the area. Although the Bohles' home was ransacked, there was no sign of a break-in, nor did it appear anything was taken. Police also don't know whether the door was unlocked or whether Bohle opened the door to her killer. And they don't know if she was the victim of someone who knew her or might have wanted to harm her.

There were no other attacks on residents in the vicinity around that time, Gajda said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Metro Crime Stoppers by calling 1-866-756-2587, by texting 274637, or by visiting the website metrocrimestoppers.org. People who leave information anonymously are eligible for rewards.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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