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Dolores Della Penna (December 13, 1954 - July 1972) was a seventeen-year-old Philadelphia schoolgirl who was tortured, murdered, beheaded, and dismembered in or around the Kensington neighborhood in July 1972. [1]

Della Penna's torso and arms were later located in Jackson Township, New Jersey, while her legs were found in neighboring Manchester Township near the border with Jackson. The young girl's head has yet to be recovered, and no culprit has ever been arrested in the case. [2]

Official police reports state that Miss Della Penna was likely killed by drug dealers who mistakenly believed that she had stolen some of their merchandise, but as the crime has never been solved this version of events cannot be verified and is hotly contested. [3]

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Dolores Della Penna was abducted on the evening of July 11, 1972, in front of her home. She had taken the trolley home and was seen walking just over a block to her home. She never arrived. Shortly after 1 am, her parents called Philadelphia Police to report her missing. A Juvenile Aid Division Policewoman was dispatched and interviewed the parents. The circumstances did not "feel" like a runaway and shortly after dawn the Policewoman discovered Dolores' necklace and drops of blood in the street in front of her home. Neighbors were interviewed and several reported either seeing or hearing a disturbance the previous evening (about 10 pm) but admitted that they had failed to contact authorities. One witness claimed to have seen a man loading a "bundle" that might have been a young woman into an automobile. Several weeks later, body parts that were later identified as belonging to Dolores were found in Jackson, NJ where turkey buzzards had been seen circling. Dolores' torso and arms were found. Over the next year, the case had an active task force of full time detectives and officers. During that time hundreds of interviews were conducted and every lead was followed to no avail. (Source is the Policewoman originally assigned to the case.)

References

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