7 Chilling Cold Cases Where The Murderer And Victim Were Both Unknown

Published November 21, 2017
Updated May 10, 2018
Published November 21, 2017
Updated May 10, 2018

Carbon County Beth Doe

Composite Drawing of Beth Doe from Carbon County

Wikimedia CommonsComposite drawing of Beth Doe from Carbon County, Pa.

In this unsolved murder, a teenager from White Haven, Pa. discovered the dismembered body of a pregnant woman. She’d been separated into three suitcases and tossed over a bridge.

‘Beth Doe’ had been sexually assaulted, strangled, then shot in the neck. Her unborn daughter’s remains were tucked in the suitcase with her.

The killer neatly removed Beth Doe’s, ears, nose, and breasts with a serrated blade. They were not in the suitcases and were never found. Tooth enamel testing revealed that the victim was likely from a European country, but moved to the U.S. as a child. At the time of death, she was only in her late teens or possibly early twenties.

Investigators theorize that the killer threw the suitcases containing Beth Doe off the Lehigh River bridge as they traveled westward. Soggy newspaper scraps were wrapped around some of her body parts. Police found this paper to be a copy of The New York Sunday – an Eastern New Jersey publication. It was dated Sept. 26, 1976.

The medical examiner saw numbers had been written on the victim’s left hand. If she’d written it herself, she was right-handed. The letters WSR and the numbers four or five, followed by four or seven appeared to be scrawled in pen ink. Was this a partial license plate number?

Even with a full set of fingerprints, facial reproduction sketches, and several clues, the murder was tossed into the pit of baffling cold cases. Beth Doe was buried in 1983; with her daughter beside her.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.