Who Killed Jeannette DePalma? New Details On The 1972 Unsolved Murder And The Satanic Rituals Surrounding Her Death

Photo: Instagram
Who Killed Jeannette DePalma? New Details On The 1972 Unsolved Murder And The Satanic Rituals Surrounding Her Death
Entertainment And News

There have been a lot of bizarre and mysterious murders that have gone unsolved over the years. Jeannette DePalma's is one of the strangest and spookiest. In the late summer of 1972, 16-year-old Jeannette DePalma disappeared from Springfield Township, New Jersey. Six weeks later, her body was found by a dog — or at least part of it. On the afternoon of August 7, 1972, Jeannette DePalma left her home on Clearview Road. She told her mother that she was going to take the train to a friend's house. She never arrived at the friend's house. She didn't return home. Her parents filed a missing person's report with the Springfield Police Department. Six weeks later, on September 19, 1972, a dog brought a decomposing right forearm and hand home. Jeannette DePalma's remains were found atop a cliff inside of Springfield's abandoned Houdaille Quarry. The cliff was called Devil's Teeth. Who killed Jeannette DePalma?

1. The discovery of her body

When Jeannette DePalma's body was discovered, local police were puzzled. The remote spot where her body was found and the way in which it was found has distinct ritualistic overtones. She was placed on a makeshift altar. There were reports of cult tokens and symbols surrounding her dead body. Most people thought either a coven of witches or a local Satanic group operating in the area at the time had killed her. According to WeirdNJ, when they began their investigation into the murder of Jeannette DePalma more than 30 years after her death, people who remembered the crime were still too afraid to talk about it.

2. The investigation

After the body of Jeannette DePalma was found, the Springfield Police Department began their investigation. Her autopsy did not reveal a cause of death. There were no bullet wounds, stabbing marks or broken bones. No drug paraphernalia was found on or around her body. Coroners suspected that she had been strangled to death. Early on in the investigation, the police department received a tip about a homeless man living in the woods near where DePalma's body was discovered. He was known as "Red," and people believed he left his campsite shortly after DePalma went missing. The police followed up on that tip and concluded that "Red" had nothing to do with the 16-year-old's death. Over time, the case went cold. 

RELATED: Who Killed Bryan Smith? New Details On The 1994 Unsolved Murder Of The North Carolina Teenager

3. Human sacrifice

About two weeks after DePalma's body was discovered, a number of newspapers, including the New York Daily News and the Star-Ledger reported that Jeannette DePalma may have been the victim of an occult sacrifice. It was believed that a coven of witches or a group of Satanists that both operated inside the nearby Watchung Reservation were responsible. This rumor spread like wildfire, was promoted by the DePalma family's Evangelical pastor and set off panic in Union County, New Jersey.

Trending on YourTango

4. The Witches Planned the Killing

When WeirdNJ began investigating the murder of Jeannette DePalma more than three decades after the discovery of her body, the publication began receiving a number of anonymous tips. One such tip said: "I was a young teenager when the discovery of Jeannette DePalma happened and lived in the next town. About two years prior, there was much talk in my school about a cult in the surrounding area. They were known as The Witches. They must have let it be known in the area that they planned to kill a child on or about Halloween, either by kidnapping and sacrificing them or by poison. I remember being anxious about this because I went trick-or-treating in those days. I didn’t read the newspapers, but I was well aware of the dog that brought home the girl’s arm. The story was well known, as I lived within three miles of the quarry. –Anonymous"

RELATED: Who Are Kathy And Samantha Netherland? New Details On The Unresolved Murder Of A Mother And Daughter Five Years Ago

5. Who killed her?

Police claim the case file for the murder of Jeannette DePalma was lost in a flood in the late 1990s. The case had long since gone cold. The legend of a coven of witches and Satanic cult persist. The truth is, we may never know who killed Jeannette DePalma, but it will remain one of the creepiest stories of unsolved murders out there. To this day, there have been no leads in the Jeannette DePalma case. 

Before you go,
subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long-distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.