Teresa Marie Caseiro (16) was found gagged and tied up with stockings in a bedroom closet inside her home in Willingboro, Burlington County, New Jersey.
I do not know to whom the stockings belonged.
If they were from someone living in the house we could assume that the killer did not come prepared with these materials. They were grabbed when binding materials were needed. In other words, no premeditated murder.
However, if they did not belong to anyone from the household, it could be that he took them off to use as binding material. In any case, if preserved, these stockings are a treasure trove for touch DNA.
There were no signs of a forced entry at the front or at the back of the house so it is possible that Teresa opened the door. She might even have known her killer.
Teresa stayed overnight with neighbors while her parents and four siblings were away on a two-week trip to Maine. The family planned to move and were house hunting. During the day, Teresa would go home and do chores. On the day that she was reported missing, an aunt had planned to give her a ride to her summer job. Teresa was clerking at the Rancocas Valley Hospital’s billing department from 4-9pm.
The autopsy showed that Teresa died of asphyxiation. She had a man’s support stocking in her throat. She also had about fifty stab wounds in her chest and body. That is overkill. This shows a deep seeded rage, a highly personal crime. One stab wound even punctured one of her lungs. I did not find in the papers what type of knife was used, if it came from the household, or not.
Her head showed signs of blunt force trauma. I have not read anything about a possible object that could have caused the trauma to her head.
When she was found, Teresa wore a blouse. Her overall was pulled down to her ankles. However, there was no overt evidence of sexual assault. I do not know if any of her clothes have been preserved for possible testing with modern technology.
Teresa was found around 1120am by her grandfather Anthony Gorman on July 24, 1973. Friends saw her last July 23, 1973, around 10am. Teresa was reported missing that same day around 11pm. She had not shown up for work.
Police released a composite sketch of a person of interest as you can see here on the right. I have tried to make the newspaper image lighter to clear it up.
The man is white, about six feet tall, 35-40 years old, around 240 lbs. with reddish hair, and he drove a big red car. I do not know the make or model of that car.
Further details from various newspapers said that the man had a stocky build and was wearing a light jacket. Some people said that his hair was sandy.
In June 2021, a cold case unit was formed by New Jersey State Police. At the time of writing, their website does not display any unsolved cases. I hope they will not forget Teresa and the other victims.
If you have any information about this case, please call the Willingboro Police Department at 609 877 2200.
In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.
We need to get these cases back in the mainstream media, to get people talking again, and if anything, to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are unsolved does not mean that we can forget about them.
With the advances we made in modern forensic sciences, we may have a chance to find clues that previous remained hidden because we didn’t have the technology. Now that we do, let’s review all these old cases once more.
I encourage you to share this post on your own social media platforms. By sharing these posts, the cases reach new networks, new connections, and new online news feeds. Maybe one day these updates will pop up in the right person’s news feed. This may be someone who can actually help advance the case and that is my goal.
Rest in peace, Teresa Marie Caseiro.