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It was on September 19, 1972, that Jeanette DePalma’s case got the beginning. In Springfield, New Jersey, a dog returned from a frolic in a wooded area with an object in its mouth and started playing with it. 

And then the owner of the pet was trying to find out what is the large bone carried by the dog. And then realized it to be a human arm. The owner called the police department to the scene, and they found a lower left arm, where the fingernails had whitish nail polish.  

It was found that the arm belonged to Jeanette DePalma. And behind her death, there are so many theories related to Satanists.

So what really happened to her? What is the Jeanette DePalma case? What is the connection of this murder to Satanists? Was it a murder or was it an accident? Continue reading to know more about the story. 

What happened to Jeanette DePalma? 

Jeanette DePalma lives in  Springfield Township, New Jersey.  On August 7th, 1972, Jeanette DePalma left home to visit her friend. It was the last time she was seen alive.  They found the body in a rock Quarry after the dog brought home the decomposing arm to Baltusrol Gardens  Apartment complex nearby Wilson Road. 

The Jeanette DePalma case

When Investigations began by the editors of Wierd NJ to find out the reason behind the death,  the local police claimed that the files and evidence related to the Jeanette DePalma case had been destroyed during flooding from Hurricane Floyd in 1999. 

Her death remains a mystery,  and it is believed that she might have been murdered by Satanists. 

Who is Jeanette DePalma? 

Jeanette DePalma was born on August 3rd, 1956.  She was from a middle-class life and was living in a New Jersey suburb of Springfield Township. she and her siblings were raised by their DePalma parents in a devout Christian household. 

The house was located on Clear View Road and the Manhattan Skyline was visible.  In 1972 she celebrated her 16th birthday but it was unremarkable because she was closely associated with her faith and so partying was off the table.

On August 7th, Jeanette told her mother that she want to meet her friend and that she will be taking the train to the house. But then there was no news from her and she never called her mother about her reach the place,  and never returned. 

Her Parents reported about their missing daughter but there was no trace found. It was on September 19th,  1972 the dog returned from the walk with an arm in its mouth and police immediately started the investigation.  

The media speculations about the death of Jeanette

They found a body in a part of the Houdaille  Quarry known as The Devil’s teeth,  they found the face down and it was surrounded by wooden crosses and logs positioned in a coffin pattern.

It was suggested that it was a pentagram and other occult objects in the makeshift coffin.  The body was fully clothed and was decomposed badly an initial cause of death was difficult to find out.  To find out that it was the body of Jeanette DePalma dental records were taken definitely identify it.

As the area where the body was found was covered in Occult symbols,  it lead the people to believe that her body was resting on a makeshift alter. 

Her death happened during the Jesus movement and so generated many newspaper articles to speculate that she died as a result of an occult killing. 

The media speculations about Jeanette Depalma

Rumors began to spread and were concluded that she was killed for human sacrifice.  Many believe that she provoked a  group of devil-worshiping teens at her school. 

At this time the infamous Satanic panic was yet to come.  There were reports of devil worship with locals sharing stories about children holding seances,  praying to Satan, and sacrificing chickens, pigeons,  and goats in the park around the nearby Watchung reservation. 

There was a name on the Cliff where DePalma’s body was found and it was the Devil’s Teeth. As Jeanette was closely tied to their faith,  police initially believed that her death was part of an occult ritual.  They were convinced that there was a connection and brought a witch into the investigation of the Jeanette DePalma Case. 

The media was covering the satanic sacrifice of the young teenager while the union country authorities were declining to comment on the mysterious death.  And the sources that were informed, confirmed that there is evidence to indicate the involvement of teenage Satanic worshippers. 

Newspapers interviewed people who insisted The Devil’s Disciples killed poor Jeanette when she try to spread the good word about Jesus Christ.  She was religious that she would talk to her friends about God. 

What really happened to Jeanette? 

The body was so decomposed that they could not perform an autopsy. They were able to get the x-rays of her skull but there was no evidence of fractures, bullet holes, or traumatic injuries. 

The cause of death has never been determined. For further analysis, samples of Jeanette’s clothing were packed up and sent to the federal government. 

In January 1973, the FBI crime lab report said that Jeanette’s clothing including her blouse, slacks, and inner wear was tested along with the soil from the scene. They compared it with the hairs collected from her dresser drawer and on her body. But they found no apparent foreign hairs on her body. 

The involvement of Edward Salzano

Edward Salzano, a close friend of DePalma’s nephew John Blaney.  He grew up around Springfield and believe that an evil group of Satanists killed Jeanette.  He lived with his aunt at the time of her death. 

They both took it upon themselves to try and solve the case. Blaney died about 4 years ago which made Salzano even more determined to uncover the truth about what really happened.  He had spoken to many of DePalma’s friends, family members,  and acquaintances. 

Salzano said that there is a ‘gigantic coverup’  and almost everyone he has spoken to about the case shares the belief that she was killed by a Satanic cult.  He said that DePalma was a devoted Christian who would preach to other people to leave satanism and witchcraft behind. 

He claimed that he developed a relationship with the last person to have seen DePalma alive, and who he believes was involved in the cult. He said that she would call her in the middle of the night and she never stopped talking about the Satanic cult. 

The Satanic theory

Satanic theory involved in Jeanette Depalma

This theory is said to believe because, at the time of the death of Jeanette DePalma, the nation was in the midst of  Christain revival known as the Jesus movement. Jeanette Depalma’s family belonged to the assemblies of God Evangel Church in Elizabeth.

And it was also a period marked by the paranoia of satanism and witchcraft. Jeannette’s death occurred three years after the infamous Manson Family murders.

And when they found the body they found pieces of wood crossed on the ground over her head and more wood framed the body like a coffin. 

Along with that, a number of sacrifices involved the dead animals around the Watchung reservation which was less than 2 miles away from where Jeanette was found. The Union County park police found burning candles, a bowl of blood, and feathers of pigeons with their necks snapped around the same time. 

Killed by a serial killer

There was speculation that her death was the work of a serial killer. The police investigation report explored the possibility that she was the victim of a potential serial killer while they compare the Jeanette DePalma case to four other murders in the area including Mary Ann Pryor, and Lorraine Kelly who were also found in the wooded areas

But there were no similarities in the dead bodies and no strong evidence to link them. 

Overdosed 

One theory suggested that Jeanette was a recovering addict and accidentally got overdosed while hanging out with friends,  and they subsequently dumped her body in the quarry due to panic.  But there was new evidence to support this theory. 

The re-investigation of the Jeanette DePalma case

There was no strong evidence to prove the real cause of death. The case was never solved but brought anger, terror, and suspicion within the town.

And so Wierd NJ, a conspiratorial travel guide decided to involve in this matter to find out what really happened. Jesse P. Pollack and Mark Moron began their own investigation. 

Before they were involved in unearthing strange and unsolved incidents in Garden State history for years. And so they heard about the Jeanette DePalma case. 

They faced resistance from the police who claimed that all the evidence was destroyed in 1999. The illustrations that were allegedly found near the body and images were shown to several occult historians all of them agreed that no Satanic symbols or witchcraft indicators were present. 

But when they start to dig into the case, they began to get new leads, as members of the community came forward and many new names and clues began to rise. Pollack and Moron presented the evidence simply as they obtained it. They were from the victim’s own sister and the local police such as the behavior of the teenager, accounts that were in contrast to one another.

They had conversations with key witnesses appear in many cases as transcribed in their book and allowed the readers to form their own judgment and decide on the theory. 

Jeanette Depalma case

In 2015, the authors Jesse P. Pollack and Mark Moran released a book on the case called Death on the Devil’s Teeth: The Strange Murder, which Shocked Suburban New Jersey and provided theories but there were no concrete answers about what happened to DePalma.

In 2019, the writers obtained a case file with photos of the body, which cast doubt on the cult theory. An expert in satanic imagery said that the arrangements of rocks, sticks, and logs appear to be naturally placed and not the work of devil worshippers.

According to an officer’s theory, DePalma’s body was found at a teen party spot, and the area appears to be a dense brush with no signs of people.  He had theorized that she had overdosed on drugs with friends on the spot and been left for dead.  It was said that the most logical cause of death is drug overdose but no evidence listed it.

This is a most recent theory, police at that time did not have the remains of Depalma test for drugs. Doctor Bernard Ehrenberg sent a scalp sample to a forensic laboratory asking on the request form for tests for heavy metals, alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics.  But someone else crossed out the latter two drug tests on the form and they were apparently never performed.

Jeanette Depalma’s family rejected the overdose theory, maintaining that she was a good girl who didn’t use hard drugs and was involved in her church.

The police narrative and the evidence support that someone was with her on the top of The Devil’s teeth or possibly would have carried her there.  Personal items including makeup, an inhaler, and the vial were found about 8 and 1/2 feet away from her body.  Pers and the cross necklace she wore were never found. 

Pollack said that the spot is so remote,  and difficult to reach that a fire truck with an aerial ladder was used to retrieve the body.  It was not the easiest hiding spot to get to.

Final thoughts 

Salzano runs the “justice for Jeanette Depalma” Facebook page to obtain DNA evidence in February 2021 while Moran and Pollack continue to research the case.  They obtained the case files from the union county Prosecutor’s office under a Freedom of Information Act request. 

The documents were clear,  and there was no evidence of occult activity,  animal sacrifice, or anything that suggests a Satanic nature.  But the necklace and the purse were stolen from her, which suggests it to be a possible motive. 

The cause of death still remains unknown and her death has not officially been declared a homicide.  But the case remains open.

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