One of New Jersey’s most notorious unsolved murders took place on this date
On August 7th, 1972, Jeannette Depalma, a 16-year-old Springfield girl, left her house to visit a friend. She never got there.
In one of the more gruesome developments in a murder case, six weeks later a dog brought home a severed arm in his mouth. It was Jeannette’s arm. That led to the discovery of her body on a cliff above an abandoned quarry in Springfield in Union County, reportedly surrounded by logs in a coffin like setting or by ritualistic artifacts or an altar, depending on who you talked to, according to WeirdNJ.com.
Rumors started almost immediately that her death was the work of Satanists or witches who were believed to congregate in the area. There were also reports that dead animals were hung from the trees around the site of her death. In reporting their story, WeirdNJ found that residents, even 30 years later, were too uncomfortable or too scared to go on the record with what they remembered.
They also found out than many of the files relating to the case had either been lost or destroyed by the Springfield police. The murder remains unsolved to this day. If you are interested in the case, two of WeirdNJ.com’s writers authored a book on the case, found here.
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