The Betsy Aardsma Murder

 

The Betsy Aardsma Murder

On ​November 28, 1969, a graduate English student arrived at a Penn State campus library to research some homework for an upcoming study. Shortly after her arrival her body was found in a dark library book row.

In this article we will be looking at the mystery that surrounds the Betsy Aardsma murder…

The Library

When Betsy first entered the library on that fateful day she had a quick conversation with a professor who worked in an office nearby.

At some point between 4:45 and 4:55 that afternoon she ended up in a dark library row looking for some research books. A witness later came forward and reported they had heard a man and a woman having a conversation in that area of the library.

The conversation seemed to be pretty calm and the witness heard no indication that an argument was taking place. Suddenly they heard the sound of books hitting the floor.

Just before 5pm a man walked quickly out of the library and informed the desk worker that ‘somebody better help that girl’. She didn’t really ‘get’ what this man was saying so she returned to her work without a second thought.

Without warning, a group of students shouted from the other end of the library saying they needed help. They had found Betsy collapsed on the floor and thought it was some kind of seizure.

Betsy was then taken to the Ritenour Health Center that was located nearby. It was here that the local doctor discovered a puncture wound through her right breast.

Her right ventricle had been cut right open by some sort of small blade but the red dress she had been wearing covered up the small amount of blood.

There were no indications of any sort of struggles or defensive movements. The authorities came to the conclusion that she had been stabbed from behind.

The Investigation

When the police finally arrived at the library they were disappointed to find that a janitor had cleaned over the area where the assault had taken place.

If there was any evidence left there it had been thoroughly washed away!

A mass investigation followed where just about every man on the campus was put through a police interview. The library desk clerk was able to help a police artist draw up a portrait of the suspect who left in such a hurry.

The case grew cold and before long the investigation died down – there were no real leads.

The age of the internet brought a sort of revival of the Betsy Aardsma murder. A site was set up under the title of Who Killed Betsy Aardsma? Uncovering Penn State University’s Most Notorious Unsolved Crime.

The site contains many official documents and links to various aspects of the crime.

Two full length books were also released and they pinpointed the murder on a geology student named Rick Haefner.

He was interviewed by police but released soon afterwards. In later life he was charged with molestation of underage boys. He died in 2002.

There are also conspiracy theorists out there that believe Betsy was a victim of either Ted Bundy or the Zodiac Killer. There is no evidence to back up these claims.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Betsy Aardsma murder please leave them in the comment section below.

4 comments on “The Betsy Aardsma Murder

  1. Chris,
    Awesome story, a friend told me about this when she went to college there, but I thought it was just that, a story. I have an interest and read about these incidents often and I’ve never actually seen anything on this before, thanks for confirming her story. Great sight too, love the minimalist aesthetic and the layout of the info (with the intro and headers), as well as the ease at which you can navigate stories…bookmarked.

  2. This is a very interesting mystery. I feel so sorry for Betsy. I live in Philadelphia and I’m familiar with the campus for Penn State. As of matter of fact at my job there are a lot of Penn Students. They recently went through some difficult events with cyber racist threats on Twitter during the presidential election. I hope one day we can solve this murder for Betsy Aardsma.

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      I remember hearing something about cyber racist threats on Twitter through the BBC World News Service a while back – I didn’t realize that it involved Penn Students!

      It is a sad case (Betsy) but it doesn’t look like being solved any time soon…

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