For Jeannette DePalma, then 16 years old, a routine afternoon in the summer of 1972 became an eerie enigma.
She left her home in Union County, New Jersey’s Springfield Township, informing her mother she was going to a friend’s house via train.
But Jeannette never showed up at her friend’s house, and as night passed, her frightened parents called the Springfield Police Department to report daughter missing.
A horrific discovery made on September 19 weeks later added to the mystery.
Jeannette’s deteriorating right forearm and hand, discovered perched on a cliff in Springfield’s Houdaille Quarry, were chillingly returned by a neighborhood dog.
Her skeletal remains were surrounded by unsettling and contentious items, such as makeshift wooden crosses and stories of pentagrams, adding levels of mystery to the baffling case.
Who was Jeannette DePalma?
On August 3, 1956, a young woman named Jeannette DePalma was tragically killed in Springfield Township, Union County, New Jersey.
Her horrible killing remains unsolved. Discussions in Weird NJ magazine and the 2015 book Death on the Devil’s Teeth have drawn attention to it.
This has made it a contentious and perplexing matter.
Organisers continue to look for answers despite the catastrophe having occurred over 50 years ago. They demonstrate Jeannette’s unfinished story’s ongoing influence.
This has affected people who are committed to bringing about justice for her awful demise.
The Springfield Police Department launched an inquiry after the cause of DePalma’s death could not be determined by an autopsy.
She had no visible fractures, gunshot wounds, or knife cuts on her body or clothing. No signs of drug usage were found on or around the body.
Since the coroner suspected strangulation as the cause of death for unexplained reasons, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office is treating the death as suspicious.
It was also odd that the coroner discovered a significant lead concentration in the body.
An early report to Springfield police concerned a homeless man who was residing in the nearby woods near the quarry.
He was known by the locals as “Red,” and they claim that shortly after DePalma vanished, he departed his campsite in the woods.
This lead appeared promising at first, but the Unintentional Office ultimately came to the conclusion that “Red” was not responsible for DePalma’s death.
Investigators gave up on the investigation due to a lack of public tips and conflicting comments her friends, family, and peers made to the police.
There was no evidence of drug paraphernalia on, near, or around DePalma’s body.
Other than social marijuana smoking, she was not known to have used any illicit or prescription medicines.
Despite suspicions and suggestions made by Springfield police that she may have died from a drug overdose.
The medical examiner, Bernard Ehrenberg, openly suspected strangling after conducting an autopsy on DePalma’s remains and eliminating drug overdose and unintentional death.
Case Report & Results
Weird NJ magazine began covering the long-running cold case in the late 1990s and early 2000s after getting numerous anonymous notes regarding DePalma’s Death.
There were rumors going around that the Springfield police had destroyed or lost the case file.
Mark Moran, the editor and co-founder, conducted research and reported on a number of reportedly questionable features.
The Springfield Police Department asserts that it destroyed the file when Hurricane Floyd flooded its headquarters in 1999.
A novel: Death on the Devil’s Teeth: The Strange Murder
Weird NJ journalist Jesse P. Pollack and Moran collaborated on the book “Death on the Devil’s Teeth: The Strange Murder That Shocked Suburban New Jersey”.
Together, they dug further into the case and discovered new suspects, connected unsolved homicides, and possible proof of a cover-up.
In a lawsuit he filed against the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Edward Salzano asked for a DNA examination of Jeannette DePalma’s clothing.
Important papers, including the FBI crime lab report, were sent to Edward Salzano by John Bancey, Jeannette DePalma’s nephew.
In spite of soiled clothing, the crime lab in 1972 was unable to conduct definitive testing. “Justice for Jeannette DePalma” paid tribute to her memory in a 2021 article.
The organizers are still actively looking for solutions even though it has been close to 50 years.
A reexamination of DePalma’s case in 2022 revealed additional information.
The phrase “A Long Walk Home” alludes to Jeannette DePalma’s desire for her demise to be ruled a homicide rather than a suicide.
The atrocities committed by Jeannette DePalma, Joan Kramer, and Carol Ann Farino are thoroughly examined in the book, with analogies made between the three women.
Serial killer Richard Cottingham is a Suspect
New Jersey serial killer Richard Cottingham exchanged a number of letters with writer Jesse P. Pollack in the spring of 2021.
These correspondences suggested that he might have been involved in DePalma’s kidnapping and murder, given the man was travelling at the time.
Pollack forwarded the communication to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office after Cottingham indicated his desire to assist the authorities.
The specifics of Jeannette’s murder, as disclosed by Cottingham, are included in the updated and revised 2022 edition of Death on the Devil’s Teeth.
Law enforcement agencies have not revealed any new information on the case as of December 2022.
Update on Jeannette DePalma case 2023
There have been recent developments in the Jeannette DePalma case.
This week I talked with Chris McDonough of the Interview Room podcast, Dr. Gary Brucato and Dr. Ann Burgess about Delphi. Check it out here: https://t.co/fwYLkzOw2q
— Barbara MacDonald (@NewsyBarbara) October 3, 2023
The Interview Room podcast held a conversation regarding the Delphi case on October 3rd with Chris McDonough, Dr. Gary Brucato, and Dr. Ann Burgess.
Being a binge-watcher himself, finding Content to write about comes naturally to Divesh. From Anime to Trending Netflix Series and Celebrity News, he covers every detail and always find the right sources for his research.