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  1. #1
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    OH - Strongsville, WhtFem UP15394, 15-25, in Rocky River, Feb'75

    I came across a Reddit post on r/UnresolvedMysteries by a user named callmeice and am reposting this with his/her permission, since they're unable to start a thread here. While doing research on another mystery in Cleveland, they came upon a cemetery listing for a Jane Doe homicide victim who was buried on May 15, 1975. S/he did more research - including looking at newspaper archives on microfiche in the local library - and was able to dig up some more information.

    Reddit links aren't allowed (it just gets starred out), so I'm reposting the whole thing here.


    ---

    Cleveland suburb, '74-75:
    While researching another Cleveland mystery, I stumbled upon a cemetery index listing for unidentified female bones. A call to the cemetery confirmed that no action had been taken since her interment, and further research at a local library of newspapers on microfiche turned up a handful of articles. I have attempted to contact the city's detective but have not had any response in months. I have not contacted the county. No resolution is found within the articles nor in any for some years after and possibly to this day.

    A search of databases such as the county and state unidentified, as well as NamUs as not turned up anything that I can connect to this woman. As one will see in the articles, there was quite a confusion regarding who was handling the case. That, and with time surpassed, I think contributed to her not being listed.

    If there are any questions, I will do my best to answer.

    This is the main index that lists the unnamed at this particular cemetery (Highland Park/Memorial Gardens).
    And this is a link to an image of the original cemetery index. She is the eleventh down, number 82483. The following info is given on this page:

    Date of Death: 2-5-1975
    Date of Int.: 5-15-1975
    Name: Unknow [sic] White Female Bones
    Address: Strongsville, O.
    Age: about 20
    Cause of Death: Gunshot wound of head

    The following are the contents of the articles I have found. I did my best to get exact sources, and transcribe accurately (microfiche printed was awful). I am sorry if this is formatted horrifically.

    Strongsville Star, 12 Feb. 1975, page 4:

    February 5; 8:31 p.m. Metropolitan Park rangers report human body found near Eastland in park.
    Strongsville Star, 19 Feb. 1975, page 12:

    Identification of Skeleton Still Unknown

    Efforts to establish the identity of the skeletal remains of a young woman found along the Rocky River in Strongsville recently have thusfar proved fruitless, according to a spokesman at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's office. "We're still trying," the spokesman said, "but we've gone about as far as possible with what we have now." Only six teeth had been found with the body which was badly decomposed after apparently lying along the west bank of the river near the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks for several months. "Until someone comes in with a query on a missing person, or with dental records we can match with what we have, there's nothing else we can do," the spokesman said. Two teenage boys found the remains two weeks ago which have been tentatively identified as those of a white woman in her late teens or early 20s.
    Strongsville News Sun, 27 Feb. 1975, front page headline:

    Who Will Bury Skeleton?
    By Ken Poshedly

    Who will pay for the burial of a skeleton found in Metropolitan Park Reservation in Strongsville Feb 5th? The question is still undecided. Strongsville, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County all point the finger at each other in who will pick up the tab for the $100 cost and bury the victim. The News Sun took a circuitous route to find an answer. "If after going through all our leads and tests we cannot identify the skeleton," said Dr Lester Adelson of the Cuyahoga County Coroner's office, "we will turn it over to the county for a respectable burial in Potter's Field in Highlandview Cemetery." The deputy coroner told the News Sun the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department handles burials of indigents and those who cannot be positively identified. "Call the welfare department," he said.

    At the welfare department a worker advised the News Sun to call Cleveland City Hall because "we don't handle cases like that, only veterans." Edward Fern, registrar and supervisor of Cleveland's vital statistics department at city hall indicated the county handles burials of indigents and those unidentified. "Call the county," he said. Fred Williams of the county veterans affairs office opined the burial would definitely be Strongsville's responsibility if that is where the body was found. "If the determination is made the body was not found in Strongsville, the county will take care of it," said Williams, "We are allowed by law to pay $100 to cover the cost of casket and work expenses to bury the remains."

    He said that because the skeleton was found in Strongsville, Strongsville would have to bear the cost and referred to a memorandum between the county and numerous townships and municipalities throughout the county dated Oct. 8, 1965. Williams said the memo states indigents found inside townships and municipalities will be buried by them. At Strongsville, city hall secretary Marge Gottlieb said she wasn't sure just what memo Williams was referring to. "Talk to the mayor. I'm sure he can help you." "The City of Strongsville will take care of any burial expenses if it is determined we must pay it," said Mayor John Pearce. He then directed the News Sun to clerk Harlan Gifford.

    Gifford didn't know anything about a memo between the county and Strongsville and suggested the News Sun talk with Patrick Gareau, law director. Mike Gareau, brother of Patrick who is out of the state temporarily, noted the memo referred to probably concerns welfare recipients rather than the finding of bodies. "That body may be in the coroner's office for the next two years," said Gareau. "When and if the problem arrives, we'll take care of it. But now, I don't want to speculate on exactly what will happen." The coroner's office is trying to compare notes from other sources to see if a clue may be found leading to the positive identification of the approximately 20 year old white woman's remains.

    "But if we don't get anywhere with this," said Dr. Adelson, "she will be buried with a marker at the head of the grave that reads "White, female."
    Edit: here is the appropriate location of where she was found. I'm assuming they considered the creek-river the Rocky River as it's a tributary. I can't 100% verify the tracks are the B&O RR either, I will look at my detailed county map in a day or so. Eastland road is sectioned and here I think it is called Valley Pkwy. She could have been hitchhiking and was traveling on the turnpike I-80, it's right there.

    http://imgur.com/xRS1OCn and http://imgur.com/tkQnLEQ
    Last edited by Migmuu; 02-04-2015 at 05:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    The only missing Ohio woman I can find so far who fits the (vague) description is Joanne Coughlin, who went missing from Youngstown two days after Christmas 1974.

    Age (21) would be within range
    Race (Caucasian) matches
    Distance (71.5 miles between Youngstown and Strongsville) works
    Timing (little over 2 months from date LKA to the UID's date of discovery) is reasonable

    The circumstances don't match up though. While Coughlin was likely the victim of foul play, her Charley profile says investigators believe her car - with her body inside - was dumped in a quarry in Pennsylvania. So I'm not too confident about this PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Migmuu, I thank you for posting this for me (callmeice from reddit). I thought it was the same username here but rather it was close.

    To everyone reading, I plan on calling the city and county detectives and ME to see if I can gain anymore info on this woman. When weather permits, I will check to see if she ever received that headstone. I may also go back to the library and attempt to locate more articles from Strongsville and the county, but this is only if my schedule allows it.
    ~~~~~~~Where is Eetu Vainonen? Where is Beverly Potts? Who were the Cleveland Torso Victims? Who is Strongsville Jane Doe?~~~~~~~

  4. #4
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    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Wow, this is my backyard, so to speak. Happy to help in any way I can. Yes, Eastland becomes Valley Parkway when you enter the Metroparks - I think that's Mill Stream Run Reservation.

    It doesn't say homicide or suicide. Homicides in the Metroparks are crazy rare - the Metroparks are really considered very safe and Clevelanders will tell you it's one of our favorite parts about living here. They do get their share of suicides though.

    Then again, that was a crazy time in Cleveland with mob wars and all, so anything is possible I guess.

  5. #5
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    Welcome ice190! Guessing you're a fellow Clevelander. Thanks for getting this ball rolling.

  6. #6
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    The skeleton was found on Feb. 5, 1974, so her date of death had to have been some time before that.

    Charlotte Brown was last seen in April 1973 in Cleveland, OH, at the rapid transit (railway?) station.

    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/7540/89/

  7. #7
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    It's dreadful how the article is about the cost of her burial rather than about trying to ID her or find her killer.

  8. #8
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    Sharon Pretorius was LKA not too far away also.

    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/...us_sharon.html

    She may be a little too young though.

    Patricia Seelbaugh was LKA in Mercer County PA, which is about 100 miles from Strongsville.

    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/..._patricia.html

  9. #9
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    Patricia Seelbaugh was last seen in Grove City PA, on Oct.26, 1973 at a truck stop under dodgy circumstances.
    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/7040/6/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicaljoke View Post
    The skeleton was found on Feb. 5, 1974, so her date of death had to have been some time before that.

    Charlotte Brown was last seen in April 1973 in Cleveland, OH, at the rapid transit (railway?) station.

    https://www.findthemissing.org/en/cases/7540/89/
    Could be. But Charlotte Brown's husband's first wife, Darcy Brown also went missing a few years before her and has also never been found. I think Charlotte would have been someone they would have looked into at the time, but you never know.

    Yes, the "rapid" is the local mass transit railway system.


  11. #11
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    Oct 2014
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    153
    Without regarding time frames, the two Browns and Ruth Baumgartner rang a bell
    In Darcy's profile on Charley it says she may be buried in the Hinckley and another nearby area. Strongsville isn't too far off from either.

    Yes, I'm a Clevelander! This and my signature gives that one away!
    ~~~~~~~Where is Eetu Vainonen? Where is Beverly Potts? Who were the Cleveland Torso Victims? Who is Strongsville Jane Doe?~~~~~~~

  12. #12
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    Oct 2014
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    I need to make a correction to the original post.

    The date of death as listed on the cemetery index is February 5, 1974, not 1975. So they estimated she was deceased for up to one year when she was found on February 5, 1975. She was found in winter so I would hope they took that into account, meaning it could be longer. This narrows out a few suggestions already.
    ~~~~~~~Where is Eetu Vainonen? Where is Beverly Potts? Who were the Cleveland Torso Victims? Who is Strongsville Jane Doe?~~~~~~~

  13. #13
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    Feb 2007
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    Hi and welcome, ice190. If I may suggest adding the county coroners office to the list of authorities you are going to call. They may have information and you can also suggest utilizing NamUs to the authorities you contact.


    hth and good luck!
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


    Long Lost Love - Discovery ID - Disappeared - Bob Harrod Case

    You can now purchase Mr. Harrod's Disappeared episode through Amazon, iTunes or YouTube.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cubby View Post
    Hi and welcome, ice190. If I may suggest adding the county coroners office to the list of authorities you are going to call. They may have information and you can also suggest utilizing NamUs to the authorities you contact.


    hth and good luck!
    Cuyahoga has been entering cases in Namus, but perhaps not all of them. When I tried to deal with the coroner's office regarding the guy who jumped off a bridge on I-90 it was pretty hard to get anywhere. We definitely need to find out who handles cold cases there.

  15. #15
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    I need to make a correction to the original post.

    The date of death as listed on the cemetery index is February 5, 1974, not 1975. So they estimated she was deceased for up to one year when she was found on February 5, 1975. She was found in winter so I would hope they took that into account, meaning it could be longer. This narrows out a few suggestions already.

    In regards to who handles the cold cases at the county coroner's, they're certainly making progress in the rape kit department..

    I am attempting to contact the city of Strongsville now.
    ~~~~~~~Where is Eetu Vainonen? Where is Beverly Potts? Who were the Cleveland Torso Victims? Who is Strongsville Jane Doe?~~~~~~~

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