Unsolved: Ravensburg Jane Doe: Part Two

Rauchtown Run, Ravensburg State Park

Note: This is part two of three articles about Ravensburg Jane Doe. The first part can be found here: Part One.

I arrived at Ravensburg State Park to examine the area where an unidentified woman was discovered at the Big Rock Campground on July 15, 1925. While she remains unknown and mostly forgotten, I have come to know her as Ravensburg Jane Doe.

Located south of Jersey Shore, Ravensburg State Park can be easily missed by people traveling along Route 880. The park gets its name from the ravens that once roosted in the large rocks at the southern edge of it. The dam on Rauchtown Run is a reminder the park was a creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Using the information from the 1925 newspaper articles, the first thing I did upon arriving at Ravensburg State Park was to attempt to find the location where Ravensburg Jane Doe was discovered. The distance places the location between two and two and a half miles from Rauchtown, which places the location of the murder scene somewhere between the main entrance and the location of the dam.

After parking, I followed the Raven Trail, which parallels Rauchtown Run, but my mind was not on the beauty of nature as I walked; instead, it drifted into the past. The Lock Haven Express in the August 3,1925 edition stated at least eleven missing girls had been suggested as Ravensburg Jane Doe, but the majority of them had been eliminated as a possible victim. The possibilities of who the unidentified girl was were mostly women from either 1) Sugar Valley or 2) Jersey Shore, but her identity went to the grave with her.

The Whitmore girl: The Whitmore family from Williamsport were interviewed about their missing daughter possibly being Ravensburg Jane Doe. After talking to the family, authorities determined their missing daughter was not the murdered girl. The reasoning for eliminating her as the victim was 1) their daughter had only been missing for ten days and 2) the description of the Whitmore girl did not resemble the murder victim.

The Edwards girl: Another possible identity to Ravensburg Jane Doe was the daughter of the Edwards family from Jersey Shore. She was listed as being about twenty years old when she disappeared in June 1925 after allegedly kidnapping her younger sister. Authorities were convinced Ravensburg Jane Doe was from Jersey Shore and had been transported through Antes Gap to be dumped near the Big Rock campground and considered her to be the murdered woman. The only problem with Ravensburg Jane Doe being the Edwards girl was only one body was discovered at the crime scene. Authorities did not completely eliminate her as a possibility but the focus shifted away from the body being the Edwards girl. Note: I have not been able to determine if the Edwards case was ever resolved.

Teresa Stabley: For a couple weeks in August 1925, this missing girl from Loganton area was considered to be the Ravensburg Jane Doe. Teresa matched the girl in size, had gold crowns on some of her teeth, and the same hair color. The January 8, 1928 edition of the Lock Haven Express removes her as possibly being Ravensburg Jane Doe when she returned home.

Marian Hines: The July 24 issue of the Lock Haven Express identifies twenty-year-old Marian Hines of Scranton who had been missing for a couple weeks when the body of Ravensburg Jane Doe was discovered. Hines was described as having light brown hair, standing five-foot-five, and had gold teeth. Note: I have not been able to find any follow up on this possible identification, nor if Hines had ever been found.

Other possibilities and wild rumors: 1) An unidentified Jersey Shore girl who was being kept at a house in the Nippenose Valley. According to the Lock Haven Express she was last seen being transported to the Lock Haven Hospital. 2) A young lady who had been spotted camping with two men on Locust Ridge. It was investigated and the young lady was discovered alive. 3) A girl who had been kept prisoner in a bootlegger’s shack in Sugar Valley. 4) The young lady who was a victim of an automobile accident that happened nearby when the vehicle was driven into a ditch. Authorities were able to locate the owner of the wrecked vehicle and the theory was discarded when it was discovered the accident happened after the body was discovered.

There was one name that stayed in the newspapers throughout 1925 as the possible identification of Ravensburg Jane Doe – Grace Herman.

Grace (Martz) Herman: From the start Grace, who was living in Williamsport when she disappeared, was investigated as being Ravensburg Jane Doe. Authorities believed she was the Ravensburg Jane Doe from the start, but it appeared that they relied too much upon a claim made by her friends and family.

Herman was originally from Sugar Valley, where her father, Henry Martz, still lived and was raising Grace’s daughter. Henry was initially convinced this was his missing daughter, but when he viewed the body, he was unable to make a positive identification due to decomposition. When he examined the clothing found with the girl, Henry stated the clothing was unfamiliar to him and was sending his other daughter to see if she recognized them. Newspapers did not reveal if the other daughter ever arrived to examine the clothing.

A couple days later after Henry examined the body, the Williamsport police informed Henry they had received a telegram from authorities in Newark, New Jersey. This telegram claimed the Newark police had detained Grace. Henry immediately went to retrieve his daughter and bring her home. However, the July 31, 1925 edition of the Lock Haven Express states Henry returned home to Sugar Valley without his daughter. Henry claimed he had spoken to his daughter while in Newark, but he also stated he had not actually seen her. He currently believed she was now in Syracuse, New York.

Williamsport police questioned Henry’s claims and sent a telegram to the Newark police asking about Grace. Newark authorities revealed they had no information regarding the case and never sent the original telegram. If Newark authorities did not send the telegram, then who did and why? But, it does not appear that Henry was ever questioned about the telegram and his journey to Newark.

Ravensburg Jane Doe mostly disappeared from the newspapers after September 1925. Her case is briefly mentioned in two different articles focusing on other murders that happened in the Rauchtown region in the 1940s, and made one last, very brief mention in a 1985 article which stated it should have been solved but yet it remains a mystery.

I paused at the vehicle and studied the area that is still as wild today as it was in 1925 and could not wonder why it was never solved. I know that many of the questions I had running through my mind will never be answered due to how many years have passed. She may have been forgotten by most, but to me her case was as real as it was in 1925 and I still had questions.

The story of Ravensburg Jane Doe concludes here: Part Three.

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