Penny Doe Cold Case Makes No Cents

Penny-DoeCLARION COUNTY, Pa. (EYT) – She only had a penny in each of her pockets when she was found dead in muddy waters of a streambed in Monroe Township in 1990, and her death is still a mystery in 2014 and remains a cold case of the Pennsylvania State Police and Clarion County.

A photo of a reconstructed face at the time also provided no leads.

Identity unknown, she was quickly nicknamed Penny Doe because of the penny in her pockets after the investigation started.

On Friday, July 22, 1990, two children were hunting for berries in a remote area of Monroe Township, about three miles south of I-80 near Reidsburg. As they were crossing under a railroad trestle, they saw what they thought was a deer lying in a streambed. As they got closer, they found that it was a body, lying face down in the muddy water.

An autopsy showed that she had suffered blunt force trauma to the right side of her skull. It also revealed that her right leg was broken.

Authorities did not believe that she was from the local area or Clarion County, but they did think it was likely that her killer was local because of the remote location where she was found and the nearby road is lightly traveled. However, there are railroad tracks nearby, so it is possible that the killer may have followed the tracks and found the area by chance.

In the summer of 2002, authorities received an anonymous letter about the girl. Law enforcement put out a plea, asking the author of the letter to contact them again, but the writer never responded.

Experts estimated she died four to eight weeks prior to her discovery on that summer day. While police gained a lot of information about the deceased woman, her identity was never established and remains a cold case to this day.

music alley

Estimates on Penny’s age ranged between 15 and 22, although some sources reported her as old as 40. She had very healthy teeth and had one baby tooth still in place on her top set of teeth. She wore no bra, socks or shoes, or the killer may have taken them.

Police also explored a lead that she may have attended a Memorial Day Concert May 27 at Music Alley near St. Petersburg and somehow ended up in Monroe Township.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Clarion County Coroner’s Office at 814-275-1773 or the Pennsylvania State Police Troop C-Clarion Criminal Investigations Unit at 814-226-1710.


Clarion County Cold File Vital Statistics:

Estimated Age: 15-22 years old

Estimated Height: 60″ (5′), estimated

Estimated Weight: Pathology reports put her at 105 to 110 lbs., but in life she may have weighed as much as 120 lbs.

Hair Color: dark brown, long

Eye Color: Unknown

Race: Caucasian

Clothing: Size 9-10 Gitano Jeans. Fruit of the Loom panties, size 7. A short-sleeve, black, button-down shirt with attached floral vest, Stop Light California brand. No socks, shoes, bra or jewelry.


The above article is the second in a series of several cold case articles that will be published across EYT Media Group websites. The first article is listed below.

Ohio Man Charged in 27-year-old Cold Case Murder of Former Clarion Woman

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