What to Know
- On Sept. 18, 1995, police found the skeletal remains of an unidentified woman. Her death was ruled a homicide by unspecified means.
- In November of this year, investigators identified the victim as Merrybeth Hodgkinson of Warminster, Pennsylvania. Hodgkinson went missing in 1992.
- Police are asking anyone who knew Hodgkinson to call Detective Chris McMullin of the Bensalem Police at 215-633-3726 or Detective Greg Biedler of the Bucks County DA’s Office at 215-348-6344.
Bensalem Police have identified human remains that were discovered in 1995 as a Bucks County woman who went missing nearly 30 years ago.
On September 18, 1995, police found the skeletal remains of an adult in a wooded area behind the Club House Diner on Street Road in Bensalem. The victim was unclothed and wrapped in a plastic tarp.
After an autopsy, investigators determined the victim was an adult white woman between the ages of 35 to 45 years of age and that she had given birth at least once. The victim was between 4-foot-8 to 5-foot-2 inches tall with brown hair. Her death was ruled a homicide by unspecified means and investigators estimated her body had been in the woods between two to three years.
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Police found clothing near the victim’s body that may have belonged to her. They included a blue quilted sleeveless vest, a pink t-shirt with the words “KPMG Peat Marwick,” and a white t-shirt with the words, “Property of Alcatraz Penitentiary Swim Team, San Francisco.”
Police also found a brown beaded seat cushion that was possibly used in an automobile, and two crucifixes, one gold and one silver.
Despite extensive media coverage at the time, the victim was never identified and police couldn’t find any missing person reports that matched her description. She was buried in Telford, Pennsylvania, under the name “Jane Doe.”
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In May 2004, Bensalem Police exhumed the woman’s remains and sent them to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. The woman’s DNA profile was extracted and uploaded into the CODIS system in an attempt to identify her. The DOE Network, a volunteer group that helps investigators with cold cases involving missing people, provided a forensic sketch and sculpture showing what the victim looked like when she was alive.
Between 2004 and 2021, over 50 missing women were excluded as being “Jane Doe.” In November, BODE technology labs developed a DNA profile for the victim and uploaded it into GEDmatch and FamilytreeDNA.com. Jennifer Moore, a forensic investigator, helped police by conducting genealogy research on the victim. After additional sibling DNA comparison testing, investigators identified the victim as Merrybeth Hodgkinson of Warminster, Pennsylvania.
Hodgkinson vanished in September of 1992 after visiting her family in Warminster. She was approximately 31 years old at the time of her death and worked as an exotic dancer in the Lower Bucks County area.
Investigators also determined she previously lived on the 700 block of Rhawn Street in Philadelphia, the George Washington Motor Lodge and the Oakford Inn.
Police are asking anyone who knew Hodgkinson to call Detective Chris McMullin of the Bensalem Police at 215-633-3726 or Detective Greg Biedler of the Bucks County DA’s Office at 215-348-6344.