Chilling Girl in the Woods cold case could finally be solved with vital clue

A family is now one step closer to finding out what happened to their murdered sibling 60 years after she was killed.

After 14-year-old Nancy Eagleson was killed in 1960, the culprit managed to escape local police in Paulding, Ohio. Nancy was survived by grieving parents and two sisters, Sheryl and Merrill who were left desperate for answers after the grim murder.

Sheryl was only five when her older sister Nancy guided her home from the cinema and were approached by a car as a driver asked them if they wanted a lift.

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“No, thank you, we’re almost there,” Nancy had replied, but the man had violently thrown her into the back of the car before she could get away. Sheryl had tried to stop him but he pushed her to the ground and drove off with Nancy in the backseat.

A frantic search from neighbours and authorities eventually found the teen’s body some five hours later in a wooded area eight miles away from where she had been abducted.

The sisters had approached The Porchlight Project, an organisation that helps solve cold cases, so that they could raise the money needed to exhume Nancy’s body and perform an autopsy. This later revealed that a bullet was still inside Nancy's body – a vital clue in the sisters’ search for the truth.

Nic Edwards, a member of The Porchlight Project and host of True Crime Garage, recalled how the team was approached by Nancy's two sisters, her only surviving family.

He told The Sun: "We started talking to the sisters and they said they wanted to exhume the body hoping they could pull DNA. We talked to a pathologist who basically told us it wouldn't be impossible but it’s near impossible to find DNA after 60 years.

"This was going to be a very expensive undertaking and we had to decide whether we'd take it or not. The only thing we had was the case file – none of the physical evidence was there, her clothing, a branch that was recovered at the scene."

As well as the extra bullet for a clue, Sheryl recently managed to work with police to create a sketch of her sister’s kidnapper. She could not remember any facial features, so the forensic artist created one sketch without any features and one with generic ones.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said: "This man was seared into the memory of a young girl who survived a heinous crime many years ago. Now, thanks to forensic artistry at BCI, we can see the suspected killer through her eyes and hopefully discover his identity."

Nic explained that Paulding is the kind of city where everyone knows each other. "They believe that it was somebody local. Imagine that – they have very likely spoken to this person, had interactions with them, maybe even sat across the dinner table from them.”

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