View Full Version : GUILTY PA - Husband charged in 1995 murder of Cynthia Vanderbeek

06-22-2005, 01:35 AM
In Montgomery County, Md., detective Robert Nichols said he used the Internet to help solve a homicide case he was assigned 10 years ago.

In March of 1995, the family of Cynthia Vanderbeek reported her missing.

Last October, Nichols said he was searching the Web site of a group called the Doe Network that tried to put names to unidentified bodies.

He said he spotted a new reconstructed face of a body found near a Pennsylvania interstate, also 10 years ago. He got Vanderbeek's family on the phone and they recognized the face.


06-22-2005, 09:18 AM
that's fantastic! 10 years of not knowing...awful! thanks to that cop now her husband is getting what he deserves!

06-23-2005, 09:31 AM
Would have been nicer if the article was accurate. Det. Nichols was sent the match by the Doenetwork, which is how he found it. He didnt just happen to be looking at the site and found her. In fact she wasnt even LISTED on the site when that match was sent in to Law Enforcement. Because she was a new listing that Ms Ellis was processing she had to post her picture in a Yahoo group for Doenetwork members to see, since she wasnt on the Doenetwork site yet. I remember when that match was first submitted by Ms Ellis. There were a lot of discrepancies. The age was guessed to be teens to early thirties and Cynthia was 47. Also Cynthia was listed missing the same month the UID was found but the PA police stated the body was there for 6-12 months. There were also scars that the UID had that the missing was not reported to have. If it werent for the reconstruction having an amazing resemblence to the photo of the missing person that Ms. Ellis found, that match would never had been made through NCIC search or other searches. That one had to be made by actually seeing that photo and remembering that UID.

This was quite a find, and it involved 4 different states since there was uncertainy as to where she actually was when she was missing. Many people from the Doenetwork were involved in this one being submitted. If all the media would have done their homework as well as the Doenetwork members and the members of law enforcement regarding this identification being made and confirmed everyone would have had a much more accurate story as to what happened here! :)

The other important part of this story is how off the data was. So many members of law enforcement just do not realize how many of the coldest cases have data that is way off when the case if finally Identified. I decided to start keeping records and at some point down the line write a detailed report. This is the second one in a year involving PA that the age was REALLY off.. Tonya Gardner I believe her name was also involving PA/MD cases the age was really badly off. Also this is the second one in a year that the date could not have been a match yet turned out it was. There was one in Nevada I recall. The missing being missing after the UID was death is actually possible as we have been seeing. Mistakes are made in date of death estimates and missing persons being reported missing intentionally later or accidentally later than they really were also happen. Unfortunately the articles written do not cover what many of us consider important details of the "solve" :(

06-23-2005, 02:04 PM
I have a question. On the unidentified remains they usually have an approx. ht and wt. How accurate are those?

06-23-2005, 05:18 PM
Mysteriew - I don't know, but I found one match and sent the thought in, about a body that was discovered and judged to be about 5'1". A young blonde woman. Searching missing women, there was one that looked very much like her, but was listed as 6'0". Well obviously that's not a match. Except in the pictures of the living woman, she was with friends and she was shorter than the group. How odd, that they would report her as being 6'0" when she appeared about 5'1", as the discovered body was.

I think they mixed it up, and meant to say 60". Which is five feet, which would match.

So anyway I sent tip in and never heard back.


03-18-2006, 08:47 AM
Interesting... the detective is still claiming he is the one who found the listing on the Doe Network - so I suppose it wasn't reported wrong, that's the claim.

More about the case here:



06-16-2015, 03:34 PM
From June 2006:


A man who pleaded guilty to the March 1995 murder of his wife has been sentenced to eight to 14 years in a state prison... in accordance with a plea agreement and sentencing guidelines for the third-degree murder and abuse-of-a-corpse charges Vanderbeek faced...

Eleven years after Vanderbeek strangled Cynthia Vanderbeek and covered her body with brush off Fire Tower Road on Tuscarora Mountain, he did not comment when given the chance in court, Harvey said. There was "not even, 'Gee, I'm sorry,'" he said...

He never reported his wife missing, although her mother and sister filed a report that started a missing persons investigation by the Montgomery County (Md.) Police Department in May 1995... In late March, Stephen Vanderbeek stopped at his mother-in-law's home without his wife... He told the family his wife was in Chicago helping a friend at a boat show. Police said Vanderbeek withdrew $5,000 from the couple's joint account and also picked up $1,500 of the couple's money from his mother-in-law.