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Beth Doe Cscr-featured
Beth Doe 2015
Sex Female
Race White
Location White Haven, Pennsylvania
Found December 20, 1976
Unidentified for 43 years
Postmortem interval 7 Hours - 1 week
Body condition Recognizable face(B)
Age approximation 14-25
Height approximation 4'11 - 5'4
Weight approximation 140 - 150
(while pregnant)
Cause of death Strangulation
This case contains graphic content that may not be suitable for all readers.

Beth Doe was a pregnant teen or young adult who was found dismembered in Carbon County, Pennsylvania in 1976. 

Case

The dismembered remains of a pregnant female were located near Interstate 80 by the bank of the Lehigh River. The victim had been strangled to death, and after she died, her killer had shot her in the neck. She had also appeared to have been raped, as she had suffered genital trauma, but it is unknown if this happened before or after her death. Her unborn daughter, at about nine months gestation, also died during the attack. A coroner ruled that the victim had died less than 24 hours prior to her discovery, but some estimates state that she could have been dead for as much as a week, and the cold temperatures may have preserved her remains.

After her death, Beth Doe's body was sawed into a total of ten pieces; her torso, alone, was sawed into two pieces. Forensic analysis revealed that the fetus had been removed before the dismemberment took place and that the body had been cut with a fine, serrated tool by someone who was probably not professionally trained in medicine or anatomy, but who still was able to dismember her somewhat competently.

Some of the body parts, such as half of the torso, were wrapped in newspaper, while others were wrapped in bedspread, and they were then placed inside of three suitcases without handles that appeared to have been spray-painted black. One suitcase contained her arms and legs, another contained her head and the fetus, and the last, her torso. Her nose, ears and breasts were severed and were never recovered. Although there was an attempt to disfigure her, perhaps to conceal her identity, she was still mostly recognizable upon discovery. Investigators feel that Beth Doe was killed by someone who was "very angry" with her and highly doubt that she was the victim of a random crime.

Her killer then threw the suitcases out of their moving vehicle over a bridge, likely hoping they would land in the river below. They missed their mark, and two of the three suitcases (the ones containing the head, torso, and fetus) opened on impact, and were later found by a teenage boy on the riverbank and in the surrounding brush.

2019 developments

In September 2019, investigators released they were investigating a possible link to sixteen-year-old Madeline "Maggie" Cruz, who had run away to New York from her foster family. Cruz was last heard from in 1976 when she called a friend, asking for money. Cruz admitted she was pregnant during the phone call. There is no information to confirm Cruz was an immigrant from Europe.

On September 25th, Pennsylvania State Police announced that Cruz was located "alive and well".

Characteristics

  • She had brown eyes
  • Her hair was a natural brown color.
  • At a younger age, she had "extensive" dental disease and had three teeth removed and many restorations.
  • She had severe decay on her teeth at the time she died. Only five of her teeth were free of restorations or decay.
  • Her upper right incisors was fractured, which would have been noticeable and very painful.
  • She had two moles on her face, one on the left cheek and above the left eyebrow, possibly developing during her pregnancy.
    • Her 2015 reconstruction also illustrates a birthmark on the right side of her upper lip. This mark was not noted in other sources.
  • She had a scar above her right heel.
  • The letters "WSR" followed by the numbers 4 or 5 and 4 or 7 were written on her left hand with ink consistent with a pen.
  • Recent testing on her bones indicated that Beth Doe had spent time living in Europe and in Tennessee before she was murdered. Some believe she could have been of Czech, Polish, Italian or Jewish origin.

Gallery

Theories

  • She may have been murdered by the baby's father.
  • She may have been murdered abroad. Acknowledged

Exclusions

Sources

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