Earlier this year I added the new/old case of Teala Thompson, a light-skinned, gray-eyed biracial thirteen-year-old who disappeared from Pittsburgh nearly fifty years ago on September 5, 1967. Well, she’s been found: a body that turned up in a Salem Township, Pennsylvania landfill just two weeks after Teala disappeared has been identified as the missing girl.
This case should have been solved a long time ago. I mean, she was found not too long after she disappeared and less than 40 miles away, and they got her fingerprints and were able to chart her teeth. They were off on the age, but only slightly — they thought the dead girl was between fourteen and sixteen, when Teala was thirteen years and ten months.
I don’t really know what happened here and neither, according to the article I linked to, does anyone else:
[Teala’s younger sister] Mary Thompson said some family members believe that police had contacted [their mother] Shirley Thompson once early on in the investigation and had asked her to view a photo of the unidentified remains but that Shirley Thompson had declined. “I think it was just too hard for her. I don’t think she wanted to admit that Teala wasn’t coming home,” Mary Thompson said.
There’s no evidence in the police record that indicates the Thompson family was contacted by police nor that the Thompson family had reported Teala missing.
Perhaps Shirley really did turn down a chance to identify the body. She’s dead now so we can’t ask her. It would explain why she told Mary that Teala had been murdered in Greensburg (which is, I believe, where the landfill was). It’s also entirely on the cards that the police either wouldn’t take a missing persons report for a teen girl — a child of that age would have been written off as a runaway, and probably the fact that she was non-white wouldn’t have helped matters — or that they did take a report but the records were lost later on.
In any case, I’m afraid there may be no more answers to be found. Whoever killed Teala could be dead now, and even if he/she isn’t, building a case after all this time is well nigh impossible.
“I can’t say I remember much about what happened,” her sister Mary says. She was four when Teala disappeared. She adds: “What I remember was that Teala was beautiful and she was loved.”
- Sister Of Victim In Cold Case Mystery Is Devastated, But Relieved To Have Some Answers
- Cold case heats up: Pittsburgh girl killed in 1967 finally ID’d
- Exhumed body ID’d as girl who vanished in ’67; murder probe opened
- Composite Sketch Released Of Remains Of Unidentified Teenager (this is from before she was identified; as you can see the sketch does resemble her)