1973-1975: Unknown Female Skeletal Remains
On December 10, 1988, while local residents gathered to help clear a parcel of land that runs along the Sandy Hook Bay in Atlantic Highlands for a bicycle trail, a local volunteer found what he at first thought was a plastic ball, which turned out to be a human skull. The resident reported the find to the Atlantic Highlands Police Department who began an investigation into this found human skull.
Once the Monmouth County Medical Examiner’s Office and the State of New Jersey Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the skull was human, the Atlantic Highlands Police Department, with the assistance of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Connecticut State Police, Monmouth County Medical Examiner’s Office, State of New Jersey Medical Examiner’s Office, Burlington County Medical Examiner’s Office, the local Department of Public Works and Water Department, excavated the area by sifting the earth in four sectors, recovering more than 85% of the skeletal remains.
An anthropology examination was performed upon the skeletal remains, which were identified as a:
- Caucasian female
- between the ages of 15 to 18 years old at time of death
- 5’1″ to 5’4″
- approximately 100 to 120 pounds.
The decedent was found to be wearing the following:
- platform sandal shoes, composed of brown leather with brown painted plastic platform soles and a 2½ inch high heel, size 6½
- knee high white acrylic socks
- grey & red nylon long sleeved laced top
- white brassiere
additional items near the remains:
- portion of one pink rubber “thong-type” sandal
- leather like shoe or small boot with a picture of a football scene on side in red and white
A botanist reviewed the scene and clothing in the skeletal remains and estimated the body had been in that same location for approximately the previous fifteen years. This would put the year of death at approximately 1973 to 1975.
An investigation by the Atlantic Highlands Police Department was conducted in an attempt to identify the human skeletal remains. The human skeletal remains were mapped out and placed in the National Police computer system for all law enforcement departments to compare to their missing persons. The local media from the tri-state area converged on the small town of Atlantic Highlands and broadcast the human skeletal recovery for about four straight days. Massive medical coverage was aired and a special program called Crime Beat highlighted this case. No identification was made.
In 1992, with the assistance of the FBI, a clay reconstruction was made over the human skull and is a possible resemblance of what this recovered female skeletal remains may have looked like. Additionally, several parts of the skeletal remains were sent to LabCorp in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina for mitochondrial DNA profiling in 1997.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic Highlands Police Department now have a DNA profile that can be used to link this female subject to a family member as well as dental records.
Anyone with information concerning this matter is asked to call the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732/ 431-7012 or 1 800/ 533-7443 (toll free) or the Atlantic Highlands Police Department at 732/ 291-1212.