Scotch Plains, NJ

The Forgotten Girl in the Woods - 51 year Cold Case Murder of 16-year-old Jeannette DePalma


'Justice for Jeannette’ held a memorial service at Evangel Church in Scotch Plains, NJ for the unsolved cold case of 16-year-old Jeannette DePalma to mark the 51st anniversary of her murder on August 7, 2023. The service was hosted by former Pastor Kevin Brennan. The memorial emphasized that Jeannette's death was not a mere suspicious incident, but a deliberate act of violence and a brutal homicide, that left a void in the hearts of her loved ones.

"This is not a complete story; there is no statute of limitations for justice,” remarked Pastor Brennan.
Pastor Kevin Brennan of Evangel ChurchPhoto byJustice for Jeannette

In 1972, Jeannette left her house in Springfield, NJ, and was never seen alive again. Her unsolved case continues to spread to over 200 million viewers across the world on social media. Jeannette’s body was discovered in the woods of Watchung Reservation, NJ – her body lying face down, her cross was ripped from her neck and the items of her pocketbook scattered. The circumstances surrounding her death have continued to raise questions and doubts over the years. Her case is still ruled suspicious when it appears that all signs point to murder.

On Jeannette’s 50th anniversary, an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request made the FBI and Corner’s report documents viewable to the public, however, it raised more concerning questions as the reports did not match up to what the photographs portrayed.

“The facts just don’t add up; this was a murder,” stated the organizers.

“Trophies were taken, and somebody did it,” Pastor Brennan replied.

Jeannette's death is classified as suspicious and must be changed to a homicide in order to be solved. The Justice for Jeannette organization stated a petition has been launched and that it is gaining traction on the internet.

Edward Salzano, a member of Justice for Jeannette spoke up, "A lot of people in town know what happened; they are just afraid to speak up even 51 years later." "If someone were to start a task force in New Jersey for Jeannette’s case, it could be solved; but there’s nothing, so we have to change that.” He stressed that the organization's efforts were growing stronger.
Edward SalzanoPhoto byJustice for Jeannette

“The success story of the Gilgo Beach murders, where DNA technology played a pivotal role in obtaining justice for the victims, provided a glimmer of hope that similar techniques could aid in unveiling the truth behind Jeannette's tragic end.”

Pastor Brennan spoke to a crowd of parishioners in front of the church pews as he recalled a moment in 2004 when Florence DePalma, Jeannette’s mother, asked Brennan to seek justice for her daughter by handing him an envelope with all of Jeannette’s newspaper clippings.

During his speech, Pastor Brennan held that very envelope, the one Florence had entrusted to him nearly five decades ago and declared, "This envelope is a memorial to a mother whose heart broke, and to the family’s whose heart broke.”

He also emphasized that a special task force must be formed that would be willing to work with the latest advancements in technology to solve Jeannette's case.
The miracle letter Florence DePalma gave Pastor BrennanPhoto byJustice for Jeannette

A prayer circle was formed and attendees shared their words, which carried a mix of grief, frustration, and hope. "This case has bothered me my whole entire life," one person shared. Another voice implored, "Our hearts are broken, Jeannette is crying out for justice to you." A third participant declared, "Anything that is hidden has to come out."
51st Jeannette DePalma Prayer Vigil circlePhoto byJustice for Jeannette

The 51st memorial prayer vigil stands as a testament to the enduring strength of a community united by a shared goal – to finally provide closure and peace to a grieving family and a 16-year-old girl whose life was cut short and is still seeking justice 51 years later.

As the vigil ended the pastor remarked, "I'm laser-focused on one thing, this was not a suspicious death. It was a homicide and it must be changed."

If you would like to help Jeannette get justice you can support the organization's efforts by donating, signing the petition, or by spreading the word.




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This profile is dedicated to the 51 year old unsolved murder of Jeannette DePalma in Springfield New Jersey. Justice for Jeannette was created to solve her case and update the public on brewing news. Jeannette Will Get Her Justice.

New Jersey State

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