Howard County police have charged a Laurel man with rape and murder in a nearly 40-year-old case in Columbia, the department announced Thursday.
Howard Jackson Bradberry Jr., 62, was arrested Tuesday and charged with kidnapping, raping and killing Laney Lee McGadney in 1982.
He was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, and kidnapping after police say DNA test results linked him to the crime scene where McGadney’s body had been found.
On March 29, 1982, McGadney was heading to a grocery store in the Owen Brown Village Center in Columbia when witnesses told police she was abducted while walking on Oakland Mills Road. Police said her body was found later that day in a vacant lot and that she had been raped and stabbed to death. At the time, she was 28 and a mother of four.
Police said at the time they collected evidence but could not identify the killer. In early 2021, cold case investigators received DNA results on items discarded at the original crime scene that linked Bradberry to the crime.
“We hope that after nearly 40 years, Laney McGadney’s family can have some kind of peace with this arrest,” Howard Police Chief Lisa Myers said in a statement. “Nothing will ever erase the pain of losing a loved one in such a violent and tragic way. [But our] cold case investigators are committed to bringing justice for victims and families, no matter how much time has passed.”
Police said Bradberry is currently being held at the Howard County Detention Center on $25,000 bond. He is represented by the Howard County Public Defender’s Office, according to electronic court records. The office did not immediately respond to voicemail messages seeking comment.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 9 in Howard County District Court, according to electronic court records.