Aimee Willard (June 8, 1974 – June 20, 1996) was a star lacrosse player who was murdered near Philadelphia on her way home from a night out with friends. Her car was left running, lights on and driver's side door open, on an off ramp of Exit 3 of Interstate 476. Her body was found the next day, 17 miles away in North Philadelphia. She was beaten to death with a tire iron. The beating was so savage her skull had multiple fractures. The unsolved crime was featured on Unsolved Mysteries and later as a solved one on Cold Case Files and The New Detectives. The story of her murder and investigation was also featured on an episode of Forensic Files as well as in the film "The Dark Side of Parole."
Investigation and Suspect
With DNA evidence, her killer was identified as ex-convict Arthur Bomar, who was charged with and convicted of her murder. Bomar was on parole in Nevada for multiple crimes including manslaughter. He had repeatedly violated his parole but was never returned to Nevada to finish out his sentence. Because of bureaucratic red tape such as arranging extradition and the financing of such, Bomar slipped through the proverbial cracks in the system allowing him to be free. He was finally found out when a year after the crime another woman was driving alone felt her car being hit from behind. He tried to get her to stop but she refused and instead took down his car make and model along with license plate number. The license plate turned out to be registered to him but the car was not. The VIN turned out to be that of Maria Cabuenos, who had been reported missing since March of that year. The actual car Bomar drove was found at a junkyard. The burn pattern found on Aimee's back was consistent with a grill on the bottom of the car. Moreover Aimee's hair was found in the car. Bomar was sentenced to death for Aimee Willard but never charged in the Cabuenos disappearance. Her skeletal remains were found after his conviction and dried blood of hers was found in the trunk. Bomar was tried and convicted for the rape and murder of Aimee Willard and was sentenced to death.
Many theories and suspects were investigated, but all were cleared when Bomar's DNA matched DNA found during the investigation. It is theorized that Bomar hit Willard's car on purpose to get her to pull over as he tried with the other woman. He most likely did the same to Cabuenos. Bomar to this day denies any role in the crimes, claiming he was a target of racism.
About Aimee and Her Legacy
Willard was a star lacrosse player at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, Pennsylvania and later at George Mason University. In 1996, Willard led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring with fifty goals and twenty-nine assists. She was named to the All-Conference Team in both soccer and lacrosse, and to the All-American team for the Southeast region in lacrosse that year. US Lacrosse has created a national award in her honor.
Because of the aforementioned problems which allowed Bomar to be free to commit these crimes The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, better known as "Aimee's Law", was passed by the US Congress in 2000 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 2000. It encourages states to keep murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars longer, and holds them (the state) financially accountable if they fail to do so. It allows interstate parole violators to be jailed in their state of residence at the expense of the state where the original offense was committed. It even allows for offenders to be jailed in another state if circumstances allow.
- Kim, Myung (1996-06-22). "Murder Mystery Aimee Willard Was Beaten To Death, Police Say; Killer Hunted Cops: Tire Iron Killed Coed It Was Found About 100 Feet From Her Car". philly.com. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
- DiGiacomo, Marlene (2006-06-19). "Bomar's Battle: Aimee Willard's killer pushes his appeals". DelcoTimes. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "WDNT - Aimee Willard Award". US Lacrosse. Retrieved 2006-12-02.