Howard County police have charged a Laurel man with rape and murder in a long-unsolved kidnapping case dating back nearly 40 years.
Howard Jackson Bradberry, Jr., 62, of Montgomery Street, was arrested at his home May 25 after DNA test results linked him to a 1982 crime scene where the body of Laney Lee McGadney was found. Bradberry is charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, and kidnapping.
“We hope that after nearly 40 years, Laney McGadney’s family can have some kind of peace with this arrest,” said Police Chief Lisa Myers. “Nothing will ever erase the pain of losing a loved one in such a violent and tragic way. Our cold case investigators are committed to bringing justice for victims and families, no matter how much time has passed.”
McGadney left her apartment in Columbia on March 29 to walk to a grocery store in the Owen Brown Village Center. Witnesses described seeing McGadney being abducted as she walked along Oakland Mills Road. Her body was discovered the same day in a vacant lot, now known as Water Lily Way. McGadney, a mother of four children, had been raped and stabbed to death. She was 28.
At the time of the incident, police collected evidence from the scene and conducted a lengthy investigation, but never identified the killer. Since then, cold case investigators have revisited the evidence to determine whether they could identify any new leads. In early 2021, they received results of a DNA test performed on items discarded at the crime scene that linked Bradberry to the crime.
“I applaud the diligent persistence of our police investigators who, after 40 years, have never given up trying to solve this case,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Hopefully, this arrest will bring some measure of closure to the victim’s family and all those who knew her. “
After obtaining additional information, police charged Bradberry in the murder. He is currently being held at the Howard County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.