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42 years later we still don't know -
Who is Beth Doe?
Somebody is missing her. Somebody knows something. Please help me to give her back her name.
Warning: the following case file contains graphic and possibly disturbing details. If you are sensitive to this type of material, please do not read further. A less detailed account of this case can be found at:
Reconstruction by Pennsylvania State Police artist shortly after Beth Doe was found
Early reconstructions by NCMEC
Sketch by Frank Bender - November 2007
Reconstructions by NCMEC - May 2015
Unidentified Caucasian Female Located on December 20, 1976 in White Haven, Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Vital Statistics Estimated Age: late teens to early 20s (year of birth 1954-1960) Estimated Height: 5'4" Estimated Weight: 130 - 150 lbs Hair Color: dark brown (natural, not dyed), medium length Eye Color: brown Dentals: Available. She had fillings and there were some teeth missing. Fingerprints: available DNA - Available for both Beth Doe and her unborn daughter. Blood Type: O Clothing: none Isotope Analysis: In 2014, samples of her tooth enamel, hair and bone were sent to the University of South Florida for analysis. While not an exact science, the results suggest that she was born in Europe then moved to the United States as a child or teen. She resided in the States for at least 5 to 10 years prior to her death. She probably became pregnant in this country and most likely lived in the southeast, possibly in eastern Tennessee. Distinguishing Characteristics: Small circular mole above left eye, mole on left cheek. 5 1/2" scar on left leg, just above the heel. No previous fractures. Ethnicity: She may have been of Mediterranean heritage. Estimated time of death: 7 to 24 hours prior to being found. Cause of death: she was strangled and then shot in the neck. Other: She had been carrying a full-term, white female fetus. The remains of the fetus were also found at the scene. It is possible that the moles on her face developed at some time during her pregnancy.
Case History On December 20, 1976 at about 4:30 p.m. a local boy made a grisly discovery on the banks of the Lehigh River in White Haven, Carbon County.
The dismembered and mutilated remains of a young, white female and her unborn child had been stuffed into three suitcases and thrown from a bridge along Interstate 80 over the Lehigh River. Police theorize that the killer, traveling westbound on I-80, tossed the suitcases over the bridge in an attempt to throw them into the river, however, one of the suitcases landed on the banks of the river and the other two landed in a wooded area some 20 feet from the river.
The impact of the 300-foot drop broke two of the suitcases open, scattering the head, torso and fetus. The third suitcase, which remained intact, contained the arms and legs. The gender of the victim was not immediately apparent, but was determined at autopsy to be a young, white female. The fetus was recognized at the scene as that of a white female.
The dismemberment was not haphazard and was performed with a fine, serrated tool. While it was not a surgeon's type cut, an investigator was quoted as saying of the killer "he knew what he was doing". The arms, legs and head had been severed from the body. The torso was cut into two pieces. The ears, nose and breasts had been cut off and were not recovered at the scene. She had been sexually assaulted. Some of the body parts had been wrapped in a chenille bedspread and the torso had been covered with a newspaper.
Additional Details The three suitcases are all the same size (23" x 14" x 7 1/2"). Two of them are blue, soft vinyl with side zippers and bearing a red, white and blue stripe on one portion. The third suitcase is a blue and tan plaid with brown vinyl trim and side zipper. The handles had been cut off of the suitcases and the zippers were painted with a flat, black paint.
The chenille bedspread was cut into three pieces. It was worn and dirty but appeared to be a rust or coral color with an embroidered yellow flower with dark green and pink design.
The newspaper was determined to be six sections of the New York Sunday News, dated September 26, 1976.
Also found in the suitcases were straw and dry packing foam.
There were letters and numbers written in ink (color of ink unknown) on the palm of the left hand of the victim. While there have been different interpretations of what was actually written on the hand, almost definitely was WSR. Next to that was either a 4 or a 5. Below and to the right was either a 4 or 7. Police checked license plates and CB call signs but were unable to determine the significance of the notations. The ink would have probably lasted 8-12 hours on living flesh.