Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Aimee Willard

Real Name: Aimee Ellen Willard
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date: June 20, 1996


Details: Twenty-two-year-old Aimee Willard was a star lacrosse player at George Mason University. She had received a full athletic scholarship from there. By her junior year, she was ranked among the top twenty-five female lacrosse players in the United States. According to her mother, Gail, she always enjoyed playing lacrosse and it didn't matter to her if they won or not. In June 1996, she returned to her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the summer. She enrolled in classes at a local school.
On the night of June 19, Aimee met with friends at Smokey Joe's Tavern, a well-known college hangout, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. She stayed for about three hours and drank less than one beer. Her friends reported that she left between 1:30 and 1:40am. At 2:03am, her car was discovered by off-duty paramedics; it was parked on the shoulder of a highway transition road. The engine was running, the headlights were on, the radio was playing, and the driver's side door was left wide open.
Aimee was not at her car, but fresh blood stains nearby suggested that she was assaulted and abducted. An investigation revealed more blood on the right side of the car and a guardrail; a palm print was also found on it. Tire tracks were found next to it. At 10am, authorities located her underwear and tennis shoes at the top of a nearby entrance ramp. At daylight, the search had expanded to include helicopters, K-9 units, and groups of volunteers.
As the search continued, a witness came forward, saying that he had driven on the ramp the previous night and had seen Aimee's car. Her body was found that afternoon by children playing in a vacant lot in Philadelphia; she had been dumped about 20 miles from where her car was found. An autopsy determined that she had died of blunt force trauma. Authorities later learned that the witness who had seen her car had worked just five blocks from where her body was found. As a result, investigators began to focus more on him.
Initially, the witness cooperated with police. Then they searched his car and found handcuffs and a flashlight normally used by police officers. When authorities searched his home, they found more police paraphernalia, along with a magazine used to order police equipment. Authorities then learned that he had previously been charged with impersonating a police officer. Without warning, he stopped cooperating with the police and hired a lawyer. Surprisingly, he changed his story, claiming that he had never been on the ramp that night. Although he remains a suspect, police do not have any evidence that links him to Aimee's murder.
Meanwhile, a second witness came forward to say that he was on the highway transition road on the night of Aimee's murder. He was an off-duty Pennsylvania state trooper who has since resigned. He claimed to have seen both her car and a police officer parked in a squad car behind it. He briefly spoke with the officer and then drove away. Authorities claim that he was in a different location at the time, but he insists that he saw a squad car behind Aimee's that night.
Then, one week after Aimee's murder, a local police officer came forward to say that he was at her car that night. However, he said that he did not see the state trooper. Instead, he said that he saw the off-duty paramedic parked behind her car. Authorities spoke with the paramedic and he said that he did not speak with the police officer that night. The police officer later admitted to lying to the police; he has since resigned and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
Authorities now consider all three men (the police impersonator, the off-duty state trooper, and the police officer) possible suspects. They note that each one inserted himself into the investigation for no apparent reason. Also, circumstantial evidence appears to tie them to Aimee's life and/or death. The police impersonator worked near the area where her body was found. The state trooper lived a block away from where she and Gail lived. Finally, the police officer was known to often visit the hospital where Gail worked. To date, authorities do not have enough evidence to charge anyone in Aimee's murder.
However, authorities believe that whoever abducted Aimee approached her under the guise of authority. Her family does not believe that she would stop for anyone other than a police officer or authority figure. Gail believes that she realized something was wrong and tried to flee. Her assailant then struck her in the head and took her elsewhere to dump her body.
Authorities are still hoping that witnesses will come forward to help identify Aimee's killer. She was last seen alive at Smokey Joe's Tavern on June 20, 1996 at 1:30am. Her car was found on the transition road leading from Interstate 476 to Route 1. Her body was discovered in a vacant lot at 16th and Indiana in Philadelphia. Most of her clothes have not been found. On the night of her murder, she was wearing khaki shorts, a white t-shirt with a sunflower design, and white ankle socks.
Suspects: Authorities consider the following witnesses as possible suspects: the police impersonator, the state trooper, and the police officer. All three admitted seeing Aimee shortly before her murder.
The police impersonator had handcuffs and a police flashlight in his car. In his home, they found more police paraphernalia and a magazine used to order police equipment. He had previously been charged with impersonating a police officer. During the investigation, he stopped cooperating with the police and hired a lawyer. He also changed his story, claiming to have not seen Aimee on the night of her murder. Finally, he worked just a few blocks from where her body was found.
The off-duty state trooper admitted seeing Aimee on the night of her murder. He reported seeing a police car parked behind hers. However, authorities stated that he was in another location at the time of the alleged sighting. Interestingly, he lived near Aimee's home.
Finally, the police officer also admitted seeing Aimee's car that night. He claimed that he briefly spoke with the paramedic who called the police about it. Strangely, he claimed that he did not speak with or see the police officer that night. The police officer later admitted to lying. It has since been discovered that he often visited the hospital where Gail worked.
A tire impression expert determined that those at the scene came from a Firestone 440 13-inch tire, usually found on small compact cars.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 2, 1997 episode. It also documented on Forensic Files, The New Detectives, and Cold Case Files.

Arthur Jerome Bomar

Results: Solved. In December 1997, thirty-eight-year-old Arthur Jerome Bomar, Jr. was arrested and charged with the rape, kidnapping, and murder of Aimee. Interestingly, he was not one of the suspects originally suspected in this case. Police were led to him after a nineteen-year-old woman reported an attempted carjacking to police. She claimed that a man followed her from a local nightclub and purposefully struck the back of her car. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused. As he drove off, she wrote down his license plate number.
The vehicle was registered to Bomar. Twenty years earlier in 1978, he had been convicted of second-degree murder in Nevada and was sentenced to life in prison. The victim was a woman who was killed in a parking lot. For unknown reasons, he was released on parole after serving just eleven years. He had a history of problems with the law, including assaults on several young women. in 1990, he had been charged with the attempted murder of a woman named Theresa Thompson; however, he was released after she died of a drug overdose in 1991. He was also connected to the rape of a Philadelphia college student.
Authorities learned that on the day Aimee vanished, Philadelphia police had pulled Bomar over for questioning on an unrelated matter. He was stopped just six blocks from where her body was later found. Police went to interview him about this case, but couldn't find him. However, a few days later, he was arrested after trying to break into a woman's apartment. In his pocket were some keys to a Honda. He had put his license plate on it.
Disturbingly, it was discovered that the Honda belonged to twenty-five-year-old Maria Cabuenos who had vanished three months earlier. It was believed that she had been abducted on Route 476, the same route where Aimee had vanished. Dried blood was found in the trunk of her car. Both bumpers were slightly scraped, like Aimee's. Bomar became the prime suspect in both cases.
Bomar's alibi was that he was at a birthday party on the night of Aimee's murder. However, his fiancee said that he was at Smokey Joe's Tavern that night. They located the Ford Escort that he was driving. There was slight damage to the front bumper and its tires matched the impressions found near Aimee's. Furthermore, police found blood on the door; DNA testing determined that it was hers. Finally, underneath it, they noticed an oil pan which had a pattern that matched a strange burn mark that was found on her upper body.
Bomar's DNA matched semen found on Aimee's body. Authorities believe that he noticed her at Smokey Joe's Tavern and followed her along Route 476. They believe that he purposefully hit the back of her car; damage was found on it which supported this theory. When they got out to exchange information, he struck her with a tire iron and abducted her. Before his trial, police found Maria Cabuenos' skeletal remains in nearby Bucks County. Like Aimee, she had also died of blunt force trauma. He was convicted of Aimee's murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection. At his sentencing, he "flipped the bird" at Gail and told her to "f**k herself and her two kids".
Bomar remains on death row. He was never charged in Maria Cabuenos' case.