Friday, November 6, 2015

Beth Doe Hits Home

The images shown in this article are not photographs and serve only as estimations of the subject in life. 

It was late December 1976 when a young woman's body was found in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. It's been nearly forty years and nobody has any idea of who she was. Nearly forty years. Nobody has ever answered for this savage crime. She's known posthumously  as "Beth Doe" and is buried in anonymously in a pauper's grave. She was no older than 25 and may have been as young as 14 when she was murdered. She was most likely born in a European country before moving to the United States, judging by scientific experiments conducted on her bones.

I'm not going into detail. The description of her case is horrifying and unthinkable to me, even though I've spent the last half of my life watching true crime television shows and spending hours every day reading about these crimes. Beth's is different. There have only been about five cases that have shaken me so heavily - and hers is at the top of the list, surprisingly being above the Jack the Ripper victims and the Black Dahlia.

What remains such a huge factor is her young age as well as the circumstances surrounding the case. Two days ago, a partial mortuary photograph surfaced. It wasn't like the two renderings shown above that are nothing more than an artist's guess of how she looked. The photograph showed only half of her face, yet it was enough to bring forward the sheer reality of violence that ended this young woman's life. I had read details about her case before and I was prepared ahead of time for what I would see. I never had a complete understanding of the disgusting, unsettling and gruesome murder that someone was actually capable of doing to another human being.

I knew I would cry when I saw the face that countless artists tried to recreate over the past four decades. I knew I would be angry and I knew I would feel grief. Frankly, I should have seen this coming, yet reality never hit me until a fragment of a faded photograph leaked online from a person on a photo-sharing website that carelessly made this excruciatingly graphic image public for all members of society to see.