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Tips sought for 1995 homicide

According to a press release from Virginia State Police (VSP) Public Relations Director Corinne Geller, VSP is seeking new tips for a 1995 homicide case involving an Arvonia woman.

Saturday, Oct. 19, marked 24 years since Arvonia store owner Joan Herndon was shot and killed during an armed robbery at the Arvonia Produce Market at the corner of North James Madison Highway and Abe White Lane in Buckingham County.

On the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 19, 1995, emergency dispatchers were notified of a shooting at 29492 North James Madison Highway. The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to find Herndon deceased on the floor of the market, right inside the front door, the release cited.

According to officials, Herndon was the only employee in the store at the time of the incident. A significant amount of cash was stolen from the register.

The press release quoted Capt. David O. Cooper II, VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office commander.

“The 1995 murder shook the community, still reeling from a violent bank robbery two weeks prior just north in Fork Union,” said Cooper. “Even after all these years, we are certain there are folks in the community who know something about this tragic and senseless homicide and we encourage them to please come forward and share with us what you know. Even the smallest tidbit of information is important to this unsolved case. It’s been 24 years and it’s time to bring justice to Mrs. Herndon and her surviving family members.”

The release highlighted that before the violent crime took place, Herndon and her husband, Norman, ran the Arvonia Produce Market for 15 years. Originally from London, England, Herndon moved to Buckingham County after meeting Norman during his service in World War II. The couple raised a family of three children in the county and worked tirelessly to provide fresh produce to the community.

Despite the amount of time that has passed since Herndon’s murder, VSP investigators continue to pursue multiple leads and have conducted many interviews, the release stated.

Investigators encourage the public to contact Senior Special Agent Clay Overholt at (434) 352-3443 or Special Agent Michael Heath at (434) 352-3452 with any information pertinent to Herndon’s case. Investigators can also be contacted via email at questions@vsp.virginia.gov.