Teen girls identified after 45 years; police search for killer
For decades, the families of two teen girls have waited for answers.
Sandy Stiver, 14, and Martha Stiver, 17, went missing in Philadelphia early in the summer of 1968. Now police say, both girls were murdered by the end of that summer.
Their family has searched for them for the past 45 years.
But they didn’t search for records near Reading, Berks County. There was no reason to think the girls would have gone there.
Their bodies were found a few miles apart near French Creek State Park in Berks County. Sandy died of multiple gunshot wounds; Martha’s body was found a few months later and her cause of death couldn’t be determined. But police say they died at the same time, in August of 1968. Their family never knew they were dead.
“We’re sad and we’re hurt and we’re mad,” says Hazel DeMoss, sister of Sandy and sister-in-law of Martha. “We want to know who did it, we want someone to come forward and try to give us some kind of closure to the rest of this.”
The bodies were buried in the Potter’s field in unmarked graves in Berks County.
They went unidentified until the Berks County Coroner’s office put their Jane Doe files online a few years ago. DeMoss and her family came across a sketch of Sandy on there – and recognized it.
“Through the years, my mom’s always said there’s hope out there, and she believe in miracles,” says DeMoss, “And this definitely is a miracle.”
The bodies were exhumed last October and DNA identified them in June.
“You lose that hope,” says Berks County Coroner Dennis Hess. “At least they know what happened to them.”
DeMoss, her mother and her brother Tom came to Reading to collect their remains. They say they don’t want to bury the remains again, and will keep the girls’ ashes with them.
“Somebody’s out there who’s got to come forward,” says Tom Stiver, Sandy’s brother and Martha’s husband. “There’s no closure to it. How do you spend 45 years, and then find out this happened?”
State police are hoping someone will come forward with information.