Missing Pieces in a 1971 Cold Case

By: Alan Jones
By: Alan Jones

Imagine a murder scene where there are between 10 and 20 potential witnesses. It should be easily solved.

On an August day in 1971 as 10-year-old Kimberly McMillian, holding her infant sister, bent over to get a drink of water, she was stabbed between her shoulder blades. She died soon after.

Carole Pysher is a childhood of Kimberly's. She knew that Kimberly's mother and step-father, Faye and Eldon Hardcastle, had just bought a house on Sunset and was ready for something new in a new town.

Pysher says, “They had just purchased that house. It was a new beginning; they bought the kids up from Tennessee and to a new life in Rockford. It just came to a crashing halt.”

Rockford Deputy Police Chief Dominic Iasperro says, “We have absolutely no reason why this took place. We feel there was someone in the park that saw what happened and knew who did this, but has not come forward.”

There was no murder weapon found, no physical evidence linking this crime to any one person. Police did have a strong suspect; there wasn't enough information to make a charge stick.

Pysher says, “It was mass hysteria. This is a senseless, senseless thing and everyone was in shock.”

The park where Carole, Kimberly, and dozens of other kids played in 1971 is now the site of Lewis Lemon School, but the need for closure is always there.

Police at the time did get a description of a boy seen near Kimberly at the time of the stabbing. In reports, he was described as an overweight black male between 12 and 16 years old, about five-two, wearing a gray polo shirt, black pants, and tennis shoes, but police did not find any witness who said they saw the attack take place.

Tips continue to come in. If you know anything about the 1971 murder of Kimberly McMillan, call Rockford police or contact Crimestoppers.


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