Cheerleader in the Trunk

On the 24th of August, 1982, skeletonized remains of a young woman were found inside a chest in Frederick, Maryland by two hikers just off a gravel path in the Gambrills State Park in the Catochin Mountains.

The chest is in the original location where the body was found. Credit:

The coroner ruled that the victim had been deceased for around seven months before being found, placing her death as early as Spring 1982, but in honesty, she could have died up to 10 years before being discovered.

The female had extensive dental work on her, including several fillings, a root canal and crowns. A forensic anthropologist also commented on several skeletal features in her lower back and feet that may have been related to a previous injury.

There were also signs of wear on her bones, especially around her hips, which suggests she may have been active in gymnastics, cheerleading, or other sports. This is how she got the name “Cheerleader in the Trunk.”

There was no clothing or jewellery found with her body, but they did find a dark-coloured towel with the remains.

The woman is estimated to be between 5’3″ and 5’5″, and 100-130 pounds. She had medium-length dark brown hair that was slightly wavy, though her natural hair colour could have been more reddish-brown judging by her pubic hair which was found. Because she may have been an active sportswoman, she may have worn her hair in a ponytail more often than had it down.

She was between 17 and 27 years old at the time of her death.

Facial Reconstruction of the Cheerleader in the Trunk. Credit: Daily Mail Online
Reconstruction of the Cheerleader in the Trunk. Credit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


Cheerleader in the Trunk, Frederick, Maryland, 1982, 1980s, Unidentified Person, Unidentified Female, Jane Doe, Unsolved Murder, Unsolved Homicide, True Crime, Real Crime, Gambrills State Park

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