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Remains of 2nd Philadelphia woman exhumed from Berks grave

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 29 2013 04:32:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 05:14:49 PM CDT

The remains of a second young woman were exhumed in Berks County's potter's field Tuesday.

CUMRU TWP., Pa. -

The skeletal remains of a second young woman were exhumed in Berks County.

The exhumation process continued Tuesday in the county's potter's field in Cumru Township, where the two women are believed to be buried.

The two women, originally from Philadelphia, went missing in 1968, and officials said they believe they were murdered in Berks County.

A forensic pathologist unearthed a crucifix Tuesday, a metal plate engraved with the words "Unknown Female" and bones that belonged to a young woman with a bullet hole in her skull.

"That's number two and that is making me very happy," said Dennis Hess, the Berks County coroner, who is working to solve this mystery.

Records indicated the woman was shot in the left temple and five other times in the chest and abdomen. Her body was found in August 1968 on Route 82 in Caernarvon Township. Her death was ruled a homicide.

On Monday, part of a skull and teeth were recovered. They are believed to be the other woman, about 15- to 25-years-old. According to the coroner, her skeletal remains were found in French Creek State Park in 1969, about four miles from the first victim. A metal plate engraved with the words, "Unknown Female found April 17, 1969 buried August 1969," was also found on her coffin.

"That told us right away that it was her, that we were at the right grave because those are the exact dates that we knew," said Hess.

Hess said he was confident they found the remains of the two women he was looking for. Now, their bones will be sent to a lab for further testing, and he is hoping to be able to extract DNA, which will be sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

"The ultimate goal is to reunite them with their family members," said Hess.

According to detectives, evidence showed the two women were friends and killed around the same time. They were both wearing the same Italian sandals.

Forty-five years later, officials hope this new information could provide closure and help solve these homicides.