Warning: The following deals with sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
Just before Christmas in 1976, a 14-year-old boy, Kenneth Jumper Jr, was walking along the icy bank of the Lehigh River in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, when he made a gruesome discovery. It was the head of a teenage girl, nose and ears cut off, lying near a rock. Just a few metres away, hidden among the weeds, was a full-term female fetus.
Police searched the area and found three suitcases – one open, and two containing the girl’s other body parts. It appeared that the suitcases had been thrown from a highway overpass, 100m above the riverbank, and one had broken open when it landed. Most likely, whoever threw them had been aiming for the river, but had missed.
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An autopsy showed the girl had been raped, strangled, shot in the neck, then cut up with a small serrated knife. She had probably died less than a day before her remains had been found.
Police thought the victim would be quickly identified. An artist drew a sketch of her. But despite the case receiving wide publicity, no one seemed to know who the girl was.
"We thought it was strange that no one stepped forward to identify a woman who was nine months pregnant," state police corporal Thomas McAndrew told The Morning Call.
The girl was dubbed Beth Doe.