The 1987 Death Of A Young Pennsylvania Mother Remains A Mystery

An Eastern Pennsylvania woman should be enjoying middle age. Instead, CaraLee LaLaine Pensyl is the subject of a decades-old cold case with little information.

March 23, 2023
CaraLee LaLaine Pensyl, pictured here, was found dead and naked in a cornfield two weeks before Christmas in 1987. There have been no answers in her death.

n Eastern Pennsylvania woman should be enjoying middle age. Instead, CaraLee LaLaine Pensyl is the subject of a decades-old cold case with little information.

Photo by: Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers

Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers

It’s been more than 35 years since CaraLee LaLaine Pensyl was found nude in a Pennsylvania cornfield two weeks before Christmas in 1987. Reports at the time note that there were no injuries to her body and that the medical examiner wasn’t able to determine the cause or manner of death.

Officials did, however, believe that her body had been in the Lower Nazareth, Pennsylvania cornfield, for more than two weeks before she was found by horseback riders.

The 20-year-old mother had dropped out of high school at 15 to marry Verdon Pensyl. By the fall of 1987, CaraLee was approaching her 21st birthday and she was the mother to two children: a four-year-old daughter and an almost-two-year-old son. The Pensyl family lived in an apartment in Harmony Township, New Jersey, about 12 miles from the field where Caralee’s body was found.

A report in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, newspaper noted that CaraLee had taken a job as a security guard in September 1987 but stopped showing up after Oct. 20 and was never seen on the job again. Her husband didn’t report her missing until Nov. 25. Her body was discovered 17 days later. It is unclear if a cause of death was ever determined. At the time, CaraLee’s mother, Carole Cole, believed that her daughter was the victim of homicide.

CaraLee is buried next to her mother, who died in 1992, in the Stewartsville Cemetery in Stewartsville, Pennsylvania.

Anybody with information in the case is urged to call 1-800-4PA-TIPS (8477) or submit an online tip at Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers.

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