A Pennsylvanian woman who was believed to have been dead for over 42 years was found to be alive and well.
In 1973, a body was discovered near a U.S. army post by two Pennsylvania deputy game protectors. The body, found naked, stripped of all jewelry and personal identification, was carelessly buried under tarps, leaves, and logs.
“Investigations are tough when you have a mystery at only one end, but this is a two-front war,” state trooper Nathan Trate told The Washington Post. “Who is she? And who killed her?”
Investigators had little to go off of, but they were able to deduce her age, height, and a general composite sketch. With that, they were able to come up with four names — all runaways from a nearby youth home called Talbot Hall.
Three of the four names were crossed off the list, and by process of elimination, detectives settled on the idea that the name of Jane Doe was the last one on the list: Betsy Langjahr.
Talbot Hall - home for troubled youth - in the 70s. 3/4 girls reported missing at time cleared by investigators pic.twitter.com/f7MlTASVWJ— Megan Trimble (@MeganRegina) October 9, 2015
For over 40 years, as the cold case bounced between various investigators for the Pennsylvania State Police, investigators assumed that their Jane Doe was Langjahr.
Trate, who recently picked up the cold case, said he was thinking “there were things I could do using modern technology and advancements.”
With the evidence in the file, he was able to get a reconstructionist create a bust, hoping this would jog some people’s memories and get the case running again.
However, during the press release, a flood of tips came in that led them to Langjahr’s son, who then put Trate in contact with Langjahr herself.
“She had no clue we thought she was dead,” Trate said.
According to her estranged brother, Bill, the family cut ties with her years earlier. “She was struggling with a drug addiction, had been caught stealing from the family and refused to seek treatment or professional help,” he told the Daily Mail.
“She had a rough life throughout the years,” he said after his conversation with Langjahr on the phone. “She wants to keep her life private now.”
So who is the victim? The case is still open, and Trate is determined to solve the case.
“The case is still open,” Trate said. “I want to stop calling her Jane Doe — that’s my goal.”
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