Day 4: Beth Doe of Carbon County, Pennsylvania
Updated: Apr 18
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The picture above is a composite sketch of what the unidentified woman may have looked like in life. Police in Carbon County, Pennsylvania gave this unidentified female the name Beth Doe and her story is horrific.
On December 20, 1976 three suitcases were found near the Lehigh river bank and 20 feet into the woods near the river. It seemed that someone had thrown them off the bridge above since two of the suitcases had partially opened. These partially open suitcases revealed a horrific array of body parts from an adult female and a female fetus.
When police were called they stated that these pieces of the bodies had been dismembered in a somewhat organized fashion by a serrated blade. Police took the contents of these three suitcases as well as a few other pieces of evidence back to their station and to the medical examiner. The other pieces of evidence consisted of red/orange blanket with yellow/pink stitched flowers and pieces of The New York Sunday from September of that year.
Once the police got Beth Doe back to the medical examiner they made even more disturbing discovery. Her breasts, nose, and ears were gone. It could’ve been a sadistic way for the killer to take a souvenir of what he or she had done.
Even with a major part of her face missing they were still hoping to match her to a missing persons poster. They pulled ones from all over the US and Canada but there were no successes. Even through fingerprints and dental records no information was found on Beth Doe.
The autopsy was done immediately and it was found that Beth Doe was a white woman ranging in age from late teens to early twenties. Her height ranged from 4’11” to 5’4″ and her weight ranged from 140-150lbs. Her hair was medium brown naturally and she had a mole above her eyebrow as well as one on her left cheek.
Her tooth enamel indicated that she had been born in Europe and then moved to the US in her teen years. When moving to the US it seems she was based in Tennessee or a state very close to it. They discovered that information from isotope testing.
Her cause of death was determined to be from strangulation although she had been shot in the neck as well.
The medical examiner also found numbers written on her. If she had written them herself that would mean she was right handed. These were the things written: WSR, 4 or 5, then 4 or 7.
It is theorized that WSR stood for Women’s Services and Resources which could go along with her pregnancy. There was one of these locations about two hours away from where her body was found, so she may have been traveling there when she met foul play.
In 1983 she was buried in Laurytown Road, Weatherly still without identification. She has stayed unknown for almost 43 years now. Although many leads have come forward and been investigated thoroughly none have led anywhere. There are 12 missing women that are confirmed to not be Beth Doe:
Annastaes Banitskas of Australia
Iris Brown of Vermont
Valerie Cuccia of New York
Teresa Fittin of Florida
Trenny Gibson of Tennessee
Rory Kesinger of Massachusetts
Anna Leatherwood of Tennessee
Georgia Nolan of Kentucky
Sherry Roach of California
Mary Robinson of New York
Patricia Seelbaugh of Pennsylvania
Denise Sheehy of New York
If you have any idea on her identity other than these 12 women please contact the Carbon County Police at (570) 325-2821.
The theory that many adhere to and some evidence points to is that Beth Doe was a run away from her home or an abusive relationship or that her family kicked her out because of her pregnancy. This may explain why she was on her own and why no one has come forward about who she is yet. It is possible she traveled far from where she originally was before she got killed so no one around may have ever seen her.
This could also explain her maybe looking for Women’s Services and Resources as that seems like the right place to go if you are on your own and pregnant as well.
Many have said that this gruesome attack seems personal, not random. If you have never heard of an honor killing it basically means family kills one of their own to preserve their family honor. Could her being pregnant have caused an honor killing? Why would her family have been so brutal?
This would give a concrete explanation as to why no one has come to claim who she is. I mean if the family murdered her then they would not want to get caught so they would want to leave her unidentified. But that also begs the question of why they would take her breasts, nose, and ears. And why would they wait until she was 9 months pregnant to kill her? Why not do it sooner?
I honestly don’t know what to think in this case but it is very fascinating and could have many more theories. If you have any information make sure to call the Carbon County Police at (570) 325-2821. Beth Doe deserves justice for her and her child’s lives being taken far too soon.
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