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This March marks Amy Baker's 33rd birthday. It also marks the 15th anniversary of her death
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By RICHARD AMRHINE
At the impound lot in Fairfax, Sue Baker found Amy's purse, billfold, and backpack inside the car, but no keys. They wonder about the keys. "These guys do take souvenirs," her father notes. "Or maybe they're still up there in the woods someplace."
Of course they also wondered where Amy could possibly be.
Sue Baker and her sister-in-law got busy right away making posters to distribute in the nearby Backlick Road area.
Then they arranged to meet a Fairfax police officer at the spot where Amy's car was found. They waited for a while, aware that police weren't convinced a crime had taken place. Impatient, they set out to search the nearby woods.
Less than a half-hour later, Sue Baker came upon her daughter's body, partially covered with leaves. A subsequent autopsy determined that Amy had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
None of the leads that turned up at the time panned out. Melvin Irving Shifflett, one of the region's known killers now serving time on rape and murder charges, was cleared after a comparison with DNA evidence taken from Amy's body.
Mark Baker sees some hope that a cold hit will eventually be made in the nation's expanding DNA database. Otherwise, the only hope of finding the killer may depend on an acquaintance coming forward.
Sue Baker, who has worked in The Free Lance-Star's circulation department for the past six years, was watching the newsroom television along with us as events unfolded two years ago linking Richard Evonitz to the slayings of Sofia Silva and Kristen and Katie Lisk of Spotsylvania County in 1996 and '97.
The Bakers said Fairfax police called to let them know they would look for any connection between Amy and Evonitz. But authorities soon learned that Evonitz was deployed overseas in the Navy in March 1989. And Evonitz, who committed suicide on June 27, 2002, as officers closed in, was more of a stalker and planner. Amy's killer was clearly an opportunist.
Nevertheless, Sue Baker called the resolution of the Lisk-Silva case "a victory for us," referring to parents who have lost children to violent crime.
Over time, the Bakers have grown tired of looking for someone to blame.