Girl Gone Local: Unsolved mystery in upstate New York

It wasn't until a few weeks ago I heard of this unsolved mystery, and on July 8, 2020 the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office marked the 27th anniversary of the murder of Betty Conley. A few days ago a friend reached out to me with a request to write about this story. It wasn't until 6am this morning I sat down to go through everything - videos, newspaper articles, and the Justice for Betty Conley Facebook group which I encourage you to join.

About an hour ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Linda Conley directly, Betty's daughter and advocate for finding justice for her Mom and family. I had to compose myself before I called because when I dug into the details of this case, the emotional impact was quite heavy. I'm grateful Linda took the time to speak with me and I'm hoping that with the numerous articles written lately, the readers of Girl Gone Smart will add even more noise to this cause. I will tell you how below, but first let me tell you the story.

On the morning of July 8, 1993, 37-year old Betty Conley was found dead inside the Xtra Mart at 1958 State Route 67 in the Town of Charlton. She died from a single gunshot wound to the head and it was discovered $100 was stolen from the cash register.

One hundred dollars cash. That's it. One hundred dollars for the life of a woman, a Mom, and a wife.

Linda was 17 years old when this happened, and as someone who has lost her Mom, I cannot fathom being 17 and going through this unexpectedly. Imagine having no closure and no justice.

Betty Conley's case has remained an open and active homicide case for the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. According to the initial reports there was a mid-1980s white sedan parked in the lot of the Xtra Mart and described as a four-door with rust on the driver's door partially covered with primer.

The reports indicated that a white male, 6’2”, approximately 30 – 35 years of age, medium build, and clean shaven with blonde shoulder length hair, and a peach colored tank top was also spotted at the store. However, in an interview with DadWithAPhone Podcast, Linda states the police immediately thought it was her father which led to a delay in a 'real' investigation into the murder. For all who are wondering, Mr. Conley had taken a polygraph test and passed.

The initial questions are obvious - no, there was no video camera, there was no DNA or fingerprints, and yes, all involved, including Linda believe the murderer was local.

If I had been living in this area at the time, the first thing I would do is go through old photographs. Cell phones weren't even close to widely used in 1993, but almost everyone has a box of old photos or photo albums. Go through them. Does the car look familiar? Does the description of the man look or sound familiar?

Linda and her friend Leann Fyvie, a local videographer, created an emotional video and it has been widely shared on social media the last couple weeks. According to Linda this morning, it has been viewed over 91,000 times. Add your view to the tally, please.

I asked Linda why now, and what's the message she hopes to put out to the public. Her answer was simple - like any cold case, getting it back into the public eye is imperative for helping to solve the murder. People are now seeing the video, talking about the crime, and let's be honest here - it happened in a very small town. Someone knows something. As to why, "I was 17, but it took all of this time for me to do something. I didn't feel strong enough until now."

Over the years there have been many rumors as is common in small towns, and even today within the Justice for Betty Conley Facebook group, people are still theorizing what may have happened. Linda is in the group, of course, and answering as many questions as she can as well as collecting tips and leads as they come in.

Also, part of Linda's mission is to convince Xtra Mart to honor the $10,000 reward they offered when the crime occurred. Because most are franchised, it's proving to be difficult. If you have any insight as to how the family can get this done or how to put pressure on the business, please reach out using the information below.

How Can You Help?

  1. Join the Justice for Betty Conley Facebook group

  2. Put pressure on the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office by calling 518-885-2409 and ask for Investigator Bouyea, or e-mail him directly.

  3. If you live in Saratoga County, pull out those old photo albums and take a look. See if the car or man look familiar.

  4. Watch Linda's interview with DadWithAPhone on YouTube.

  5. Submit this case to Unsolved Mysteries. The more who do, the higher the chances of a televised case.

  6. E-mail Crime Online with Nancy Grace to help get the word out on a national level.

  7. Where ever and whenever possible, use the hashtag: #justiceforbettyconley and #saratogasheriff.

Most importantly, if you know anything at all, please contact Linda via Facebook if you have reservations about contacting the Sheriff's office directly.

Thank you, Linda, for speaking with me today. This journey can't be easy, and my heart goes out to you and your family.

#girlgonesmart #Albany #AlbanyNY #Saratoga