16 years later, murder inside Prince George's Co. hospital still - KMSP-TV

16 years later, murder inside Prince George's Co. hospital still unsolved

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Sherry Crandell Sherry Crandell

16 years after a hospital administrator was viciously raped and murdered inside her office, the killer has not been caught.

Investigators have DNA, but have so far been unable to link it to the one person who strangled Sherry Crandell as she worked late into the night.

It is a murder so brazen it left people stunned.

On January 13, 1998, Crandell, 50, was working in the safety of her office at the Prince George's Hospital Center when a man came in, tied her up and raped her before taking her life.

It is a crime the lead investigator has agonized over ever since -- wondering nearly every day if there was something he missed.

"This is a case that has been bothering me for 16 years because I want to bring some closure to the family,” said Detective Bernie Nelson in an interview Monday. “And for 16 years, I haven't been able to answer the question of who committed this crime, and also most importantly, as to why -- why did you have to kill Miss Crandell? Whether it was the fact you were trying to steal something out of her office or even commit a sexual assault, why did you have to kill her? Why did you have to take her life?”

In the days leading up to the murder, Crandell was deeply concerned over recent thefts in the office and complained to the head of security.

The night she was murdered, investigators suspect she may have found someone going through her things.

The place was ransacked and the 50-year-old was tied up with items from the office.

"It appears this was an opportunist who took advantage of the situation and it went deadly wrong," said Nelson.

At the time, police took the unusual step of asking all of the men who worked at the hospital center to submit a DNA sample. It took some time, but they have all been ruled out; cleared by police when DNA left at the scene of the crime came up without a match.

"At any time, I might get a notification someone who was recently arrested, their DNA made a hit on Miss Crandell’s case, that's a hope we hold onto," the detective said.

At the time of the murder, homeless people were taking refuge at the hospital and Detective Nelson has been working on the theory that one of them may have been involved.

Crandell was the mother of three, two boys and a girl. It is a tight knit family still searching for justice and answers.

Late Monday afternoon, FOX 5 spoke with Crandell’s son, Darren, who said his family is angry that someone may have gotten away with such a vicious murder.

He says his mother was all about helping people. It’s all she ever did -- working as a nurse and administrator at the hospital.

He said on her tombstone are these words: "Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all of her paths are peace.”

Detective Nelson believes someone besides the killer knows who committed this murder and he is urging that person to come forward.

There is a $26,000 reward.

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