Who killed Beth Ann Brown Patterson?

Beth Ann Brown Patterson

Beth Ann Brown Patterson and her son

Beth Ann Brown Patterson (July 4, 1949 – March 27, 1978) was found strangled to death on Monday March 27, 1978. She was 28 years old.

Beth was divorced and lived with her parents. She left behind a son, Ronald J. Brown. She had one brother, William J. Patterson. Her mother was the one who reported her missing when she didn’t return home Sunday night.

Beth’s case hardly has a web presence. Please help improve her digital footprint and share her case online.

The Case

According to the New York State Police, Beth’s partially clothed body was found around 1030am by two children (11 and 9) who were looking for lost puppies near a pile of old fence posts in a swampy area behind their parents’ chicken coop on the Alton L. Noble Farm, Brocton, New York.

Police sift many slim Portland Strangler leadsBeth’s body was laying face up and was partially concealed by the fence posts. Chautauqua County Coroner Anson E. Steward said Beth’s face was battered. Her father, William Patterson, later made the positive identification.

Beth was found “with her clothes in disarray.” I found in an article that her “slacks and underpants were pulled below her knees, indicating a possible sexual assault.” The papers mention it appeared Beth was sexually assaulted elsewhere and then dragged down a muddy incline to the place where she was found. If that is true we have more than one crime scene. I wonder what kind of dragging trails or tracks were found.

The case of death was manual strangulation. She was dead less than 12 hours before she was found. The manual strangulation probably happened early Monday morning between 130-3am.

An autopsy was performed by Dr. Judith Lehotay. She confirmed that Beth was strangled to death, sexually abused, and that Beth suffered several sharp blows on her head and face. I have not found what type of weapon Dr. Lehotay thinks was used. She did note that there were no skull fractures and that the head injuries were secondary (e.g. not primary cause of death) to the strangulation.

Murder clues checkedThe Investigation

Beth was last seen on Sunday evening at a restaurant called Castle Inn about a mile from Noble Farm where her body was found, police said. They do not know if she dined alone and/or if she left alone. One paper mentioned that Beth got out of a car around 150am on Monday morning on the Castle Inn parking lot, left the car door open, and then vanished. Who drove that car?

Police interviewed over 150 people and gave polygraph tests to firm up alibis to at least six people but they got nothing concrete.

The Evidence

The area where Beth Ann Brown Patterson was found is clearly visible from the road. Was the killer concerned with that or not? If he was a local he must have known the area belonged to a farm. Maybe he was not a local and thought that concealing the body with old fence posts would give him enough time to get away.

Several twigs and sticks from the crime scene were sent to a state laboratory for testing. I wonder what they were hoping to find.

I also wonder how Beth got to Noble Farm. If she was raped elsewhere was she carried or dragged down that muddy incline? Did her body show signs of mud or dragging? Her clothes, did they have mud on them? Were there any tracks near the fence post pile? Are her clothes preserved? If so, we need to use the M-Vac.

Last, if we know that Beth was raped that biological sample should be tested for DNA and checked with our national databases including those for the missing and the unidentified. Note that a killer can be someone’s missing loved one or a John Doe.

reward in case Beth Ann Brown Patterson Comments Online

I saw online a comment that seemed to suggest that Beth was accompanied that night by her dog. Did anyone hear a dog barking? Did the family actually have a dog? I didn’t read anything about a family dog but then again, I only had a few articles to go on.

Contact information

If you have any information about Beth Ann Brown Patterson’s case please contact Fredonia State Police at 716-679-1548. There is a reward in this case.

About Alice

Human rights defender and cold case blogger.