EXCLUSIVE: New York man arrested in decades-old Beth Doe case, victim's brother speaks out
The last time Luis Colon saw his sister Evelyn was at their childhood home on Second Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, in December 1976.
She was 15 and he was 17.
Evelyn was nine months pregnant. According to Luis, she asked her parents for permission to move in with her baby's father, Luis Sierra, their 19-year-old neighbor.
“I want people to know that she was a nice lady who never bothered anyone," Luis said. "She was always a mama’s girl, but things changed when she fell in love."
Before moving, Evelyn had one last request.
“The last thing that she was telling my mother was if she could make her some Spanish soup and bring it to the apartment." Luis recalls. "A few days later, they visit to bring her soup…a lady comes out and my father says, 'I'm looking for my daughter, Evelyn,' and she told him they moved out.” The family never saw or heard from Evelyn again.
Things took a strange turn the following month.
"The problem was that in January of 1977, my mother received a letter from Sierra stamped from Connecticut that he wrote, saying, 'Don't worry about them.' That they already had the baby. That it was a boy and that everything was fine," Luis said.
On December 20, 1976, the mutilated remains of a young female and her full-term daughter were found stuffed in suitcases near the banks of the Lehigh River in White Haven, Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Investigators spent the next four decades trying to identify the young mom. They exhumed her remains in 2007 to obtain her DNA.
On March 31, 2021, State Police identified the cold-case victim as 15-year-old Evelyn Colon of Jersey City, New Jersey. Her alleged killer Luis Sierra, now 63, of Ozone Park in Queens, New York, was charged with homicide and is awaiting extradition back to Pennsylvania.
Investigators have not released many details, but Luis told me by phone that his family continued to look for Evelyn for decades, but assumed the couple wanted to live a private life. The family, Luis said, did not file a missing persons report with police.
"No, after a couple years we went to the police department, but the police said you cannot report a person missing if they live with the person or unless she's held hostage from boyfriend you know of. So when we showed them the letter that was it." Luis said. "We tried, but we gave up a little bit and waited to see if she would show up in Jersey City.”
On February 22, 2021, Pennsylvania State Trooper Brian Noll, the lead investigator on the case, confirmed that they were in the process of uploading Beth Doe's DNA profile to private genealogy databases. State Police have not said what role it played in solving the case. However, Luis said his son's DNA, which he had uploaded to a public genealogy website, matched Evelyn's.
“Pennsylvania State Police reach out to my son and told him that his DNA matched a person that was murdered in Carbon County,” said Luis, who lives in Stroudsberg, PA. “For his DNA to match hers perfectly? Wow! This is incredible.”
According to published reports, Evelyn warned her family that Sierra was "abusive," and according to court records cited in the reports, Sierra would keep her locked in their apartment. State Police are not releasing additional details but say they are planning a press conference for next week.
Luis shared the only photos the family has of Evelyn, both were taken not long before she disappeared. The now 61-year-old retired musician gets emotional thinking about his parents who died not knowing what happened to their daughter or grand-baby.
“I took it hard you know, because my mom's last breath was find Evelyn." said Luis. "My father died last year. He used to call me all the time and he would say, 'Have you seen Evelyn on Facebook?' I said dad I’ve looked on the internet.”
As for Sierra, Luis hopes he gets the chance to see him in court.
"I want to look at his eyes and ask him, 'Why?' That's all I want to ask him ‘why?’ The baby…that's another thing... the baby. That was his baby. Why? Why?”
Tuesday evening the family started a GoFundme account to help raise money for a headstone for Evelyn and her baby. According to an update by Miriam Colon-Veltman, the account organizer, the family has decided to name Evelyn's baby Emily Grace Colon.
Evelyn Colon and her baby are buried at a potter's field in Weatherly, PA.
Click here to watch our original story about this case.
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Claudia Rivero Investigative Reporter/Producer