Note: I need to start this article with a warning. This article involves the unsolved death of an infant. If you find the subject too sensitive, please stop reading here and I’ll be back with a lighter subject in a couple days.
Also, I will be using the name Adam Doe to give the child a name, rather than calling him Baby Doe or Infant Doe.
Since I first started researching the murder of Ravensburg Jane Doe – the unidentified young female discovered there in 1925 – I’ve found myself captured by the case that has gone unsolved for almost one hundred years. Annually going through newspaper databases, I hoped any newly added papers might shed more information about the case.
Leaves crunched underfoot as I walked along the Raven Trail, which follows Rauchtown Creek. I’ve been to the small state park a number of times since I first encountered the mention of the unidentified young lady who was found murdered here. However, on this trip I had another unidentified body on my mind. The body discovered here on September 17, 1925, was located roughly ten feet from the location where Ravensburg Jane Doe was discovered.
The information about Adam Doe barely exists in the newspapers. If it had not been for the two bodies being found at the same location, it is doubtful Adam Doe’s case would have made the newspapers at all.
The newspapers state the horrific discovery was made around 10:30 at night by a group of young people returning home after spending the evening in Sugar Valley. As they were passing the location where the young lady’s body had been found, they turned on a flashlight to scan the area.
Exactly what they were looking for is not clear, but what they found was a galvanized tin bucket. Curious to know what it was doing there, they approached it.
They could never have been prepared for what they discovered.
Inside the bucket was a premature male child wrapped in a towel. They fled the scene to the nearest house with a phone and called authorities about the discovery.
Coroner Brown was unable to determine the identity of the baby’s mother. There was one possible clue – at the scene was a copy of the Jersey Shore Herald, with blood on it. It made authorities to believe the mother may have been from the Jersey Shore area. Beyond the discovery of the newspaper, no other clues where recovered at the scene. The body was taken to Lock Haven and was buried September 19 in the Dunnstown Cemetery.
The Lock Haven Express declared that authorities were working hard on the case, but if they ever discovered the mother of the infant, it never made the newspapers.
While the identity of the mother is not known, the cause of death was suggested by Dr. Goodman of Jersey Shore. He believed Adam Doe was killed during an abortion that took place two days before the gruesome discovery. The fact this baby was callously discarded does lead to this judgment – rather than the mother wanting to bury the infant, it was tossed aside. What is missing in Dr. Goodman’s theory is 1) why he thought this was the result of an abortion and 2) why he thought the abortion procedure took place two days before Adam Doe was discovered.
While the abortion theory was given by Dr. Goodman, Dr. Mervine, who did the autopsy, only stated the baby was born two months early. With only Dr. Mervine’s examination, it would appear that Adam Doe had been the unfortunate victim of a miscarriage.
Nothing appears in the newspapers suggesting that the mother was found or a lost pregnancy was reported to authorities. With no suspects appearing in the newspapers it is possible that those who knew her never realized she had been with child.
Much like Ravensburg Jane Doe, the death of Adam Doe has been forgotten. Though it had grabbed the headlines for a brief moment, the moment the tiny body was buried in the Dunnstown Cemetery, Adam Doe faded from public memory and into the mists of time.