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Detectives Working to Solve 1992 Homicide, Ask Public For Help in Finding James Essel’s Murderer



It happened 24 years ago. On March 22, 1992, James Essel, the owner of the Sugarloaf Mountain Market at 23800 Old Hundred Road in Comus was murdered as he worked in the store that Sunday evening.

Today, Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division – Cold Case Squad are still working to investigate the homicide which happened 24 years ago and they are asking for the public’s help. Detectives are releasing information about the crime and the investigation to the public and are hoping someone may remember something that they did not think was important enough to report to police in 1992.

According to detectives, the victim James Essel was the owner of the Sugarloaf Mountain Market, and detectives believed that he was stabbed to death inside the store during an apparent robbery, which police believe occurred between the hours of 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm, on March 22, 1992.


Investigators have reason to believe that the suspect was known to the area and may have been a prior customer to the store. Detectives also have reason to believe that the suspect possibly smoked Marlboro or Marlboro Light cigarettes.