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CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) - This week, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office announced they have identified a couple that was killed nearly 45 years ago.

Pamela Mae Buckley and James Paul Freund were identified as the couple killed in the summer of 1976 in Lynchburg, SC.

In addition to the work of the sheriff's office, it was an Upstate man who helped heat up the cold case.

Matthew McDaniel of Clemson has been looking at the case out of Sumter County for the past eight years.

It was McDaniel's suggestion to authorities to partner with the DNA Doe Project, which uses genetic genealogy to identify John and Jane Does, that helped name James and Pamela after more than 40 years.

Pamela Mae Buckley (left) and James Paul Freund (right) were murdered in Aug. 1976 Zach Prelutsky

McDaniel has spent his free time investigating the case he said wouldn't get out of his head.

Matthew McDaniel has spent eight years investigating the cold case out of Sumter County.  He said he became interested in the case because of the nature of the murder and the fact that couple had not been identified decades later. (Jan. 22, 2021 / FOX Carolina) Zach Prelutsky

"I first came across the case online like a lot of other people did and I think the one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that the couple was never identified after so many years when it seems like they should have been able to be identified. This case is unprecedented that two people are murdered and never identified this many years later," he explained.

McDaniel has no connection to either of the victims, he doesn't even have any experience in Criminal Justice.

He has a degree in Civil Engineering.

"I just like to take things apart and see how they work and I have an appetite for mysteries," McDaniel explained.

He has worked with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office over the last few years, while conducting what he calls his own investigation.

On Thursday, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office announced a break in the case.

Pamela Mae Buckley and James Paul Freund were identified as the couple.

"It is our hope that this news will bring the families some closure," said Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis.

The big break came after McDaniel told investigators they should reach out to the DNA Doe Project.

Thanks to that conversation, James and Pamela were identified by the organization.

"It really is a big relief for me personally," said McDaniel.

The Sheriff's Office did announce plans to reopen the investigation and follow up with a person of interest.

McDaniel says that he has turned over everything he has gathered on the case over the last eight years to investigators, and says he is hopeful an arrest in the case will happen in the future.

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