Childs-Metzler murder case still open after 10 years, task force renews call for public input


Marty Gordon

A multi-jurisdictional task force is pulling resources together to launch another look at a 10-year-old Montgomery County double homicide.

Heidi Childs and David Metzler were found shot to death at a popular camping site in the Jefferson National Forest on August 26, 2009.

The couple had apparently been sitting in their car when someone approached them at Caldwell Fields.

It has been five years since the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department said they had DNA evidence into the case although investigators have not linked that DNA to any individual.

Both victims had been shot by a 30-30 rifle and pieces of clothing outside the vehicle showed Childs had tried to escape from their attacker or attackers. Metzler was shot while sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle.

Caldwell Fields, on Craig Creek Road near Pandapas Pond, is popular for Virginia Tech students for camping and just hanging out.

By focusing new attention on the crime, police still hope someone saw or heard something and might come forward.

Metzler was driving a 1992 Toyota Camry and had asked Childs to drive to the isolated spot. The two had dated for several years, and friends say it was not out of the ordinary for them to take a drive to Caldwell Fields.

It was during the 2012 press conference that investigators identified several items belonging to Childs to be missing. They included: a cellphone and Virginia Tech ID.

Since the last announcement, there has been little or no information into the incident, but the initial task force had never been dismantled. It has been treated as an open “cold case” and police have continued to receive tips.

But late Friday, a press conference was scheduled to jumpstart the investigation and bring more public attention to the incident.  The Virginia State Police is taking the lead into the relaunch of the task force and will include the Blacksburg Police Department, U.S. Forest Service, FBI, U.S. Marshall’s office, U.S. Attorney’s office and the Montgomery County’s Sheriff Department.

An annual candlelight event has been held every year since the murders and is planned again for next week when friends, family and well-wishers have gathered at Caldwell Fields to remember the young couple.