Genealogical database helps Pa. State Police crack cold case murder from 1976

CARBON COUNTY, Pa. — State police announced Thursday they have cracked a decades old cold case murder in Carbon County, Pennsylvania involving the remains of a pregnant teenage girl. The girl’s remains were found in three suitcases under an Interstate 80 bridge near the Lehigh River in 1976. Detectives said the suitcases had been tossed off the bridge.

The girl’s remains became known as “Beth Doe” and her identity remained a mystery until earlier this year when investigators finally learned it was Evelyn Colon.

Investigators said Colon’s nephew entered his DNA into a genealogical database website that is often used to search for extended family members. Police were able to match it to Colon’s remains. Then they arrested her boyfriend at the time, now 63-year-old Luis Sierra.

“I’m sad because of the way they found her. I’m happy because he’s been found,” Luis Colon said. “My sister had told my mother that if anything had happened to her that he’s responsible. It was heartbreaking.”

The Colon family said they are just hoping for justice 44 years later.