December 20, 1976
Carbon/Luzerne County Line, Pennsylvania
The dismembered bodies of an unidentified female and her fetus are found in three suitcases
The victim, later given the name Beth Doe, was found by a 14-year-old approximately 7 to 24 hours after Beth’s murder. She had been strangled and shot in the throat before she was dismembered with a fine, serrated blade. Beth’s body parts were then packed in three suitcases and thrown from an interstate bridge. It is suspected the person who tossed the luggage was aiming for the river though the suitcases didn’t make it to the water — one hit the frozen river bank while two landed in the woods; two of the suitcases opened upon impact.
Beth’s head and torso, along with the body of her full-term daughter forcibly taken from the womb (Beth was estimated to be within days of delivering her child), had been packed in the two opened suitcases while her legs and arms were in the unopened case. Beth’s nose, ears, and breasts had also been removed, though these parts were not recovered.
Beth was estimated to be between 15 to 25 years old. Though some evidence was found with her, including letters and numbers written on her left hand (WSR and either 4 or 5 and either 4 or 7 which police compared to possible license plates with no luck) and a newspaper dated in September of 1976, Beth’s case grew cold. The victim was dubbed Beth Doe and buried in a potter’s field with her daughter.
Some advancements have been made in recent years, though Beth’s case remains unsolved. In 2007, Beth and her baby were exhumed to allow for samples to be taken to run against a DNA database. The database houses samples of relatives of missing persons to compare familial DNA. As of December 2019, no matches have been found. In 2014, the samples were subjected to isotope analysis, which suggest Beth was born in central or Western Europe (possibly the Mediterranean area) but moved to the United States approximately 5 years before her murder. In 2019, a tip came in to authorities from a source who believed they recognized Beth as Maggie Cruz. Cruz was quickly found in New Jersey, however, “alive and well.”
Beth and her child were re-buried next to each other in June 2020.
Any information regarding Beth Doe or her case should direct their calls to Pennsylvania State Police at 1-570-459-3890 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Gower, Ron. “Mom and fetus found along river 44 years ago.” Times News Online. June 6, 2020. Accessed: December 20, 2020. https://www.tnonline.com/20200606/mom-and-fetus-found-along-river-44-years-ago/
“169UFPA – Unidentified Female.” The Doe Network. Accessed: December 20, 2019. http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/169ufpa.html
Croteau, Scott J. “The Beth Doe Pennsylvania mystery: Tip led investigators to Massachusetts woman but she’s actually alive and well.” September 25, 2019. Accessed: December 20, 2019.
Landauer, Bill. “Investigators close in on Beth Doe and her killer.” The Morning Call. November 29, 2014. Accessed: December 20, 2019. https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-carbon-county-beth-doe-20141129-story.html