When 19-year-old Bessie P. Williams (also known as Bessie Pearl Cosby) of Johnson City went to pick up her paycheck at the Quality Inn Lodge and Convention Center in Endwell on November 4, 1983, she wasn’t expecting that it would be her last day alive. But it was.

The Johnson City Police Department was notified on the evening of November 4, 1983 that Bessie hadn’t returned to her apartment on Main Street in Johnson City. The last time she’d been seen alive was at 1:15pm.

Nearly 18 months later, on April 11, 1985, Bessie’s remains were found near a wooded area of King Street in the town of Barker. A forensic exam determined homicide was the cause of death.

For the last 33-years, police have been trying to identify who murdered Bessie. While police have a description of a suspect and there have been several possible witnesses over the years, the case has never been solved.

According to New York State Police, in the fall of 1983, Barton residents towed a vehicle from a field which bordered the wooded area where Bessie’s remains were found. The vehicle, they say, was operated by a white man who’d had one too many drinks as he was clearly intoxicated. This man is described as being between the ages of 25 and 30 and standing between 5' 07”- 5'10." The suspect had a medium build with a "pot belly," was wearing work boots, jeans and a blue wind breaker. The vehicle the suspect was driving was a late 1970s white hatchback. It’s possible that the vehicle was a stick shift Ford with a reddish brown interior and New York registration plates.

New York State Police say this is a sketch of what the man may have looked like when Bessie was murdered in 1983-

Nathan R Riegal via. New York State Police
Nathan R Riegal via. New York State Police

If you have any information regarding the homicide of Bessie or think you know who the suspect is, you’re encouraged to call the New York State Police at (607) 561-7497 and ask to speak with Senior Investigator Terry Shultz of the Troop C Major Crimes Unit. Your conversation will be kept confidential.

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