Imagine a young woman, possibly a teenager, brutally murdered along with her unborn child and no one comes forward to identify her. Not her parents, or siblings, or grandparents, no one. Investigators know little about her, but they've been her voice for the last 43 years.
"Beth Doe" and her daughter are buried in a potter's field in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. Every now and then strangers leave flowers for them.
"Beth Doe" was found along the banks of the Lehigh River in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, on December 20, 1976. She was dismembered and stuffed into three suitcases. Her nose, ears and breasts had been removed. Inside one of the suitcases was the full-term female fetus.
What kind of monster could do this to another human being? Whoever that person is, he or she, has managed to escape justice for more than four decades. Investigators don't believe it was the work of a stranger. This was a personal, sadistic attack.
Behind the scenes
We started researching this case at the beginning of 2019, and it's been quite the journey to bring it all together. We first reached out to Pennsylvania State Police and right away they said 'yes' to our interview request. We met Trooper Brian Noll, the lead investigator on the "Beth Doe" case, at the end of April. It's obvious how much he and the previous investigators want to solve this case. They've been chipping away at it for 43 years, applying traditional investigative techniques and advanced forensic technology, but it hasn't brought them closer to identifying the victim. Without her name, finding Beth Doe's killer, if that person is still alive, is like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Still, investigators have never stopped working on this case. They continue to look for ways to keep "Beth Doe" in the public eye. According to Trooper Noll, "Beth Doe" is the one case that still generates the most tips, even after all these years. Perhaps it's the nature of the crime and because there was a baby involved. What was done to them, that type of evil, is on a whole different level.
Below are some photos we took and others we obtained during the course of working on this story. They are of the actual suitcases and the blanket recovered at the scene. Trooper Noll pointed out the blanket and it's unique embroidered design. Notice the small patch of blue yarn in one of the pictures. It's almost as if the design started unraveling at one point and was stitched back together. It's a very specific blanket and someone should be able to recognize it. Same with the suitcases. If you follow this case, you've probably seen the picture of the three suitcases since it's readily available online. We wanted to see more, and Trooper Noll delivered. He shared additional pictures of the suitcases in hopes that someone recognizes them.
White Haven, PA
For this story we started by contacting people in the small town of White Haven near where "Beth Doe" was found. We sent out dozens of emails, messages via social media, and made countless phone calls. It took months, but the more we went to White Haven, the more the community started to open up. Eventually we met Dolly Maughan and her son Brent. They've lived in White Haven their entire lives and still remember the case. Brent was good friends with Kenneth Jumper, the boy who found the suitcases, and was supposed to be with him that day. We reached out to the Jumper family but we did not hear back from them. One can only imagine how traumatic the experience must have been for Mr. Jumper. He was only 14 at the time.
The funeral director
We also met Philip Jeffries, a retired deputy coroner and funeral director in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. The Vietnam veteran assisted Pennsylvania State Police in the disinterment process for "Beth Doe" in 2007. Mr. Jeffries has seen his share of trauma, but the young mother's murder stayed with him all these years.
Jeffries transported the mother and daughter's remains to a laboratory for a second autopsy on October 30, 2007. He then prepared their bodies for burial. He shared photos from his archives and details of the service for "Beth Doe" which you'll see in our report.
Following the second autopsy, tissue samples from both mom and baby were sent to a lab in Texas for identification but to no avail. In 2014, chemical isotope testing was done on Beth Doe's remains which determined that she may have been from Central or Western Europe but lived in the United States for five to ten years, possibly in Tennessee, before she was murdered. It's important to mention that isotope testing is not an exact science, therefore, investigators don't really know where she was from.
A voice for the unidentified
This case is not uncommon. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NAMUS, "Beth Doe" is one of more than 12,000 unidentified bodies in morgues or buried in public cemeteries across the United States.
According to Todd Matthews, communications director for NAMUS, the sheer volume of cases of missing and unidentified people has become the nation's silent mass disaster. Many cases like Beth Doe's are decades old, and they've been adding up over time.
Matthews walked us through the importance of the NAMUS federal database and why he believes all law enforcement agencies and families of the missing need to use it. Matthews, who was instrumental in solving a 30 year old cold-case of a murder victim known as "Tent Girl" in Kentucky says Beth Doe's case can still be solved, but as he put it, "She's missing from somewhere, and you gotta get people to come forward." And that's exactly what happened as we were working on this story.
Could Beth Doe's name be Maggie Cruz?
As we looked for information that wasn't already out there about this case, I stumbled upon several posts on different social media sites from a woman in Mesa, Arizona, who contacted Pennsylvania State Police because she believes "Beth Doe" could be her foster sister. Jane Foust says the sketch of "Beth Doe" jumped out at her the second she saw it. Immediately she thought about her foster sister Maggie, full name Madelyn Cruz, whom she met in 1972 at a boarding school called Rockwood Academy in Lenox, Massachusetts. They became friends and, not long after, Jane's parents took Maggie in as a foster child.
Jane says the arrangement didn't last long. The two were rebellious teenagers who got in trouble often and at one point ran away to Tarrytown, New York, in the summer of 1973. After a few days and with nowhere to stay, Jane decided to return home, but says Maggie refused to go with her. That's the last time she saw her. It wasn't until June 1976 that Jane says she received a call from Maggie saying she was pregnant, scared and needed money. Jane didn't tell her parents and didn't have money to send to Maggie. That was the last time they spoke. Jane wishes she had done more when Maggie reached out to her.
Kandra Gilbert of Reading, Pennsylvania, also saw Jane's posts and reached out to her. Kandra has been following Beth Doe's case for ten years. She started doing research on Maggie Cruz, and her persistence payed off. It was Kandra who first managed to obtain a picture of Maggie from a former student at Rockwood Academy. Kandra sent the photo to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Below are pictures of Maggie/Madelyn Cruz. One is from the Rockwood Academy yearbook, which the owner was kind enough to send to me for this story. Jane Foust shared the other photo with us. What do you think? Does Maggie Cruz resemble Beth Doe?
Pennsylvania State Police confirm they are pursuing this lead but have not been able to locate the right Maggie Cruz, yet. Trooper Noll hopes that someone recognizes the girl in the pictures and contacts PSP right away. According to Jane Foust, Maggie Cruz was a ward of the state of New Jersey and also briefly attended Framingham High School in Massachusetts. Maggie, according to Jane, is Puerto Rican and possibly has three other siblings who were also in foster care at the time.
Could this be the needle in the haystack that investigators have long been searching for? Could this bring closure to this 43-year-old mystery and to the small community near where "Beth Doe" was found? If not, this raises yet another question: What happened to Maggie Cruz?
If you have information about Beth Doe or if you know Maggie/Madelyn Cruz, please contact Trooper Brian Noll at 570-220-8475.
Si usted tiene informacion sobre este caso o si reconoce a Madelyn "Maggie" Cruz por favor llame a la Policia Estatal de Pensilvania al 570-220-8475 o al National center for Missing and Exploited Children al 1-800-The-Lost. Si prefiere dejar un mensaje privado lo puede hacer aquí en nuestra pagina.
Beth Doe physical description: Estimated age: 15-25 years old Race: White Gender: Female Height: 4'11" to 5'4" Weight: 140-150 lbs. Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown Distinguishing Marks/Features: She had a 5.5" scar on her left leg, just above the heel and a 2-inch scar on her left calf. She had a small circular mole above her left eye and a mole on her left cheek. She was carrying a full-term white female fetus. The moles on her face could've developed during her pregnancy. Blood type O Dentals: Available. At the time of her death Beth Doe was suffering from tooth decay and a fracture to her upper right lateral incisors that would have caused her serious pain and been noticeable to others. DNA: Available Fingerprints: Available
If you would like to leave us a message, please go to the contact page on this site.
BALTIMORE - The Baltimore chapter of the Guardian Angels took to the streets for their 7th annual "Honk for the Missing" event to raise awareness about the growing number of missing persons in the United States and around the world.
The Baltimore chapter of the volunteer organization dedicated this year's "Honk" to Joanna and Shariece Clark. The mother and daughter disappeared under suspicious circumstances from their home on the 2300 Block of Round Road in Cherry Hill on February 4, 2017.
The Angels were joined by members of the Cherry Hill community, Baltimore Police Department, family and friends of the missing women and volunteers from as far away as Kentucky.
"Honk for the Missing" events also took place in cities across the country including San Antonio, Texas; Sacramento, California; Brooklyn, New York and in Japan and Australia.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Joanna and Shariece Clark, please call the Baltimore City Police at 443-263-2220.
Above are pictures from "Honk for the Missing" events all over the country and as far away as Japan. Thank you to everyone who shared these photos.
Jayden Alexander Lopez aka "Little Jacob" was found dead on a beach in Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 20, 2017. Photo credit: FBI Houston via Twitter
Little Jayden's mother, Rebecca Rivera, 34, is charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence. Photo credit: Galveston City website
Dania Sarai Amezquita Gomez, 31, charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence. Photo credit: Galveston City website
By: Claudia Rivero Eight months after his tiny, naked body washed ashore on a Galveston beach, investigators now know "Little Jacob's" real name, where he came from, and who dumped him in the water.
Wednesday morning Galveston Police identified "Little Jacob" — the nickname they gave him when he was found last fall — as 4-year-old Jayden Alexander Lopez from Houston.
They also announced the arrest of Jayden's mother, Rebecca Rivera, 34, and her girlfriend, Dania Sarai Amezquita Gomez, 31, both are charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence.
When I interviewed lead Detective Jeff Banks in May he made it clear that they were close to solving the case. He told me that releasing a crime scene photo of the child in January was a controversial decision but one that made all the difference in how the investigation played out.
Galveston Police say that tips from the public and DNA evidence led them to the child's mother. They're also convinced that both women went to Galveston to get rid of Jayden's body.
But, since it's still not known how Jayden died, Rivera and Gomez have not been charged with his death. However, additional charges are possible since the investigation is ongoing.
Below is the full news conference posted by Galveston City to its Youtube channel.
Rest in peace, sweet Jayden. You mattered, little guy. You absolutely mattered.
By: Claudia Rivero Galveston, Texas, is a popular destination known for its beaches, its famous Seawall Boulevard, and the amusement park at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
But, just over a mile away, on a quiet side of the island, is a growing memorial full of stuffed animals, toys, and a wooden cross with the words "You mattered, little guy," dedicated to a young boy whose death remains a mystery.
The toddler, whom investigators call "Little Jacob," was found dead on Oct. 20, 2017, by a woman walking along the surf just east of Stewart Beach. Months later, they still don't know the boy's name, who he belongs to, or how he died.
Galveston resident Wanda Grunwell has been following the case from day one.
"That little boy needs to be identified," she said. "He deserves a proper burial because he had value."
Grunwell watched from her balcony as first responders pulled the toddler's body from the water.
"I felt bad for the officers and for the woman who found him, it just broke my heart," she said.
Investigators believe "Little Jacob" was in the water 12-48 hours. Autopsy results released in January show he was underweight and had injuries consistent with long-term abuse and neglect.
According to the autopsy, "Little Jacob" did not have water in his lungs; therefore, he was likely dead when someone put him in the water. But the cause of death has not been determined.
Galveston Police Detective Jeff Banks is the lead investigator on the case.
"It’s taken a toll. It’s pretty much the only thing I've worked since Oct. 20. All day. Overtime. It’s a big case,” Banks said. "I can't imagine I'm ever gonna put it down until it's solved."
His hard work seems to be paying off. Detective Banks tells me they're following up on several promising leads and are still processing evidence, including DNA. It's a lengthy, complicated process but he remains optimistic about solving the case.
“Somebody knows him and we're gonna do right by him and find out who put him in the water,” he said.
It's taken investigators months to get to this point. They started with a sketch of the toddler done by renowned forensic artist Lois Gibson, the FBI offered assistance including a $10,000 reward, and Clear Channel Outdoor featured the case on electronic billboards from Texas to Kentucky.
Galveston Police received hundreds of tips at the time, but none of them panned out.
"We got 500 names," Banks said.
Electronic billboard with Little Jacob's sketch in Kemah, Galveston County, Texas. Photo credit: Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.
As the tips started slowing down, Galveston Police and the FBI looked for ways to keep the case in the public eye. In January they took the rare and gut-wrenching step of releasing an actual photo of the dead toddler as a last-ditch effort to identify him.
"I didn't want to put that out there but there was no better way to show what he actually looks like," Detective Banks told me. "I assumed we’d have a little more push back but people were supportive of it.”
You can see the picture of "Little Jacob" in the video at the top of this page.
Tough as it was to release the photo, Detective Banks feels it was the right thing to do.
"The tips that are coming in are promising, and I'm optimistic that we're gonna be able to identify him," he said.
Some of those promising leads have come from the West Coast and Northeastern U.S., and from as far away as Europe as well as Central and South America, according to Banks.
May 25 is National Missing Children's Day. Please a take a moment to share the poster of a missing child from your area. It takes a few seconds to post to your social media and it can really make a difference. You never know, you might help bring a missing child home.
Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Missingkids.org
By Claudia Rivero Family and friends of Akia Eggleston gathered, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, outside the South Baltimore townhouse where the young mom used to live.
Volunteers handed out yellow ribbons and pins with Akia's picture before lighting candles and saying a prayer for the 22-year-old who was eight months pregnant when she vanished on May 3, 2017.
Ann Wilson, Akia's maternal grandmother, was among those who attended the vigil. It's been a difficult time for her family given that a year has passed with no answers as to what happened to her granddaughter. Even worse, her family has not been allowed to see Akia's three-year-old daughter since last July. Wilson says the little girl's father has not responded to the family's multiple attempts to reach him.
Ann Wilson talks about her granddaughter Akia Eggleston. May 5, 2018.
It's a lot for one family to endure. Wilson and her husband lost their daughter, Akia's mother, to cancer. Now, their granddaughter and great-grandson are missing and are believed to be the victims of foul play. Add to that the heartache of not being able to see Akia's daughter, Emery.
"The family is keeping her away from us," Wilson said. "I wish I had the answer, I don't know why."
As for the father of Akia's unborn son, the family says he has never reached out to them, has not attended any vigils or made an effort to help search for Akia.
"I've contacted him directly, and I've asked him to call me," Akia's stepfather Shawn Wilkinson said. "I've talked to his brother, and they just say they don't know where he's at. It just makes him look suspicious."
As mentioned in our original story about Akia's disappearance, investigators questioned the father of her unborn baby, but he's not named a suspect in the case.
"They have their suspicions of people they are watching, you know? Ain't none of them ruled out. Nobody," said Wilson.
Frustrated at the lack of answers, the family is relying on friends, the community, and organization's such as the Black and Missing Foundation — a Washington D.C. based nonprofit that helps raise awareness for missing people of color — to keep Akia's story in the public eye.
"We have an anonymous tip line, so if you go to www.bamfi.org, please tell us what happened, and we will not compromise your identity," co-founder Natalie Wilson said.
Wilson and her sister-in-law, Derrica Wilson, have been assisting the family since day one. "We're utilizing all of our platforms, social media, partnerships with law enforcement and the media to get this story out there," co-founder Derrica Wilson said. "This family is hurting and we want to bring that closure."
Natalie Wilson and Derrica Wilson, Co-Founders of The Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. May 5, 2018.
For Akia's grandmother the not knowing is unbearable. She hopes the person or people responsible for Akia's disappearance find it in their heart to do the right thing.
"Whoever have her or have done something to her, we need you to come forward because we need some answers and we need closure. Please let her go so she can come home no matter which way it is and no matter what happened. We need closure."
If you have information concerning this case, please contact the FBI's Baltimore Field Office at 410 - 265-8080 or the Baltimore City Police at 410- 396- 2499. There's a $25,000 reward.
Antonio Vela Jr. vanished June 15, 2017, after leaving a bar near his home in Victoria, Texas. Rumors surrounding the now 37-year-old music producer's disappearance have spread like wildfire.
Investigators remain tight-lipped about the case.
Ninfa Vela, Michelle Vela-Ozuna and Natalie Vela-Thompson. Victoria, Texas.
I traveled to Victoria to meet Antonio's mother, Ninfa Vela, and her daughters Michelle and Natalie. Antonio — who also goes by the nicknames TJ and Speshul Ed — is the youngest of Ninfa's children and her only son.
Friends who saw Antonio the night he vanished are sharing their story for the first time. We've also obtained exclusive photos of the scene where Antonio's vehicle was found abandoned on June 16, 2017.
Desperate for answers, the Velas are asking anyone with information about Antonio's disappearance to contact the Victoria Police Department or Victoria Crime Stoppers at: 361-572-4200
June 16, 2017
Antonio's 1999 Pontiac Firebird was found abandoned 20 miles away in the town of Inez in Victoria County on June 16, 2017. These are exclusive photos of the scene.
Anyone with information should call Victoria Crime Stoppers at 361-572-4200
I've been writing about Janteyl Johnson on whereisjanteyl.com since 2013. Today, the New Castle County Police finally added Janteyl to their list of cold cases. Although it's a good step, you may be wondering what exactly does it mean?
It means that more resources and a fresh pair of eyes will be focused on this case. In fact, many eyes—outside of NCCPD—have been focused on Janteyl since last year.
The information below is from the NCCPD website. It explains, in general terms, what criteria must be met before the Cold Case Homicide Squad re-examines a case.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also revealed a new age-progession image of what Janteyl might look like today at age 23.
Meanwhile, I'm following some interesting information and hope to have an update soon.
If you have any information about Janteyl Johnson, please do the right thing and contact the NCCPD Cold-Case Homicide Squad. You can remain anonymous. 302-395-2781 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333. What if this was your daughter? Wouldn't you want someone to come forward?
As millions of people enjoyed the Super Bowl, for the Clark family of Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 4 marked the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of their loved ones, Joanna and Shariece Clark.
A small group of family and friends held a candlelight vigil at the apartment complex on Round Road in South Baltimore where the young mom lived with her seven children. Joanna, 33, and Shariece, 15, vanished on the same day but at different times. Baltimore Police suspect foul play.
It's been a heartbreaking journey for the Clark family. The not knowing what happened to Joanna and Shariece. The many unanswered questions. The lack of tips to police. The family has their suspicions as to what occurred, but no arrests have been made.
I've covered this case extensively on this website. And although it was also recently featured on the CBS News website, Joanna and Shariece's case has not received any other national media attention. The Clarks believe more media coverage and a reward would help generate leads.
Margaret Tucker attends a vigil for her missing daughter and granddaughter. 2/4/2018 Photo credit: Jessica Watson
Memorial for Joanna and Shariece Clark missing since 2/4/2017. Photo credit: Jessica Watson
Someone knows what happened to Joanna and Shariece Clark, and they need to speak up. Do it for her six younger children who are now in foster care and face an uncertain future.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Baltimore City Police via text at: 4439024824
Janteyl Johnson, who was 15 and pregnant when she vanished on Feb. 3, 2010, would be 23 by now; her baby would be almost 8. What happened to them remains a mystery. There are still no named suspects and no arrests in connection with Janteyl's disappearance. It's as if this young girl fell off the face of the earth never to be seen or heard from again.
Although Janteyl did have a history of running away, it's clear, based on all the information we've gathered over the years, that if Janteyl left on her own, it wasn't with the intention of never coming back to her family. It makes no sense. It's absurd to think that a 15-year-old pregnant teen could pull that off on her own for this long. It's safe to say that something else happened, and the older man investigators believe she may have left with is out there somewhere. That person has never been inconvenienced. That person has never had to do much except decline to cooperate with investigators and refuse to take lie detector tests. Other than that, his life goes on.
This raises several questions. What else has the person responsible for Janteyl's disappearance done? What else has that person been able to get away with? Are there other victims? And if detectives believe that Janteyl and the older man traveled to Delaware or Pennsylvania, would the FBI be involved in the investigation since this crosses state lines?
What we do know for sure is that initially, the police focused on two investigative leads. One—a 27-year-old believed to be the baby's father—refused to cooperate with investigators. The other is an even older man who was also in contact with Janteyl the day she disappeared. This information is solid as a rock and confirmed with multiple sources.
Both of these older men had connections to a 15-year-old pregnant girl who disappeared and has yet to be found. Although there have been many twists and turns in the last eight years — especially over the last nine months — the case remains unsolved.
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Janteyl Johnson is urged to contact 1-800-THE-LOST or NCCPD at 302-395-8171.