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When a monster strikes, there's no comfort for grieving parents
This March marks Amy Baker's 33rd birthday. It also marks the 15th anniversary of her death

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Date published: 3/21/2004


MARCH IS A difficult month for Sue and Mark Baker. It is the month their daughter, Amy, was born, and the month she was taken from them.

This March would have been her 33rd birthday. It also marks the 15th anniversary of her death at the hands of an opportunistic killer who came upon Amy and her disabled car along Interstate 95, just south of the notorious Mixing Bowl.

"You deal with it 15 years later almost as you did 15 hours later," her father said last Monday on the eve of her birthday. "The grief isn't as bad, but it's still right there on your mind."

Sue Baker thinks that finding Amy's killer might not mean a whole lot at this point--aside from learning whether he is still alive or has his own family.

"People talk about closure, but there is no closure. An arrest or conviction might mean that we've done something for Amy," she said, "but it really wouldn't make much of a difference for us."

I first visited with Mark and Sue Baker eight years ago after I mentioned Amy's name in a column about some of the region's unsolved murders. A few days later, Sue Baker sent along a note of thanks for mentioning her daughter's name.

Then I decided to learn more about Amy's case for a column two weeks later that would focus on her slaying. Fairfax police say that piece spurred someone to call Crime Solvers--they believe from the Fredericksburg area--about the case. The caller was assigned identification number 6125, but has never called back.

Amy's case began on March 29, 1989. After visiting her aunt in Falls Church for a few days, the free-spirited teenager headed south toward her family's home in Hartwood. Near what was then the Newington/Fort Belvoir exit, her light blue 1970 Volkswagen Beetle ran out of gas.

When Amy had not arrived home by the next morning, Sue Baker feared something terrible had happened. She soon learned that police had towed Amy's car after discovering it abandoned on the shoulder of the highway.

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