Police say they can finally close the cold case mystery of a Philadelphia teenager's death thanks to a viewer who saw a story about the teen on NBC10.
Candace Clothier disappeared from her house in Torresdale 42-years-ago this month.
It was Saturday, March 9, 1968 at 8:30 p.m. The quiet, shy and studious junior at Lincoln High School was on her way to visit her boyfriend at the gas station where he worked in Mayfair. But, she never arrived.
Candace's family agonized over her disappearance. Five weeks later, on April 13, fishermen found her body south of Worthington Mill Road in the Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County.
Clothier was stuffed in a canvas bag and dumped off the Chain Bridge on Route 232, police say. Her body was so decomposed, they couldn't determine how she died.
Police have said all along, their key piece of physical evidence was a black canvas bag where Clothier's body was placed.
And shortly after NBC10 aired a cold case story about the teen in 2005, Ida Pickup, an old classmate of Candace came forward and identified the bag as the one she previously owned.
In an exclusive interview, Pickup says she remembers her husband at the time asking to borrow the black laundry bag. She says he took it outside to a waiting car and disappeared for several hours.
Pickup also stated she now believes her husband helped two others dispose of Clothier's body.
Police conducted more interviews, followed up on additional leads, and corroborated Pickup's information.
They eventually determined Candace caught a ride with a two acquaintances from the neighborhood who injected her with drugs against her will. The overdose killed her. Panic set in, and police say the men dumped her body.
Police would not disclose the name of the men who were involved.
"These men are dead and beyond the reach of human justice," said Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler Wednesday. "Since we cannot charge and prosecute them, they will never have the opportunity to defend themselves and it would accordingly be wrong to disclose their names."
Clothier's cousin Robin Schwoyer tells only NBC10 she's overwhelmed by the heartache, but the family is relieved to finally have some closure.
"For me, there's a renewed sadness," she said. "But also relief, that it can be put to rest."
Authorities said that without NBC10's coverage of the story, the case may never had been closed.
"A citizen came forward and provided fresh information about the case and re-stimulated the investigation," Northampton Township Police Chief Barry Pilla says.
As journalists, we learn every story has a beginning, middle, and end. But for more than 40-years, Candace Clothier's story was one that had had no ending.
Her family and loved ones remained in the dark. Now, investigators close the case by exceptional means.
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