The Box Lady of Benton County

On the 8th of October, 1976, Norman Skoog was out in his cornfield with his combine harvester. At around 5:30pm, whilst combining, he came across a cardboard box in the rows of corn, approximately 9 rows into the field.

He thought it was something one of his kids had left, but when he realised it was even too heavy for him to lift, he knew that it couldn’t have been left by one of his kids. He called his father in law to come and help him load the box into his truck.

When Norman and his father in law got back to the house, they were curious as to what was inside of the box. The box was sealed shut with grey furnace tape and a clothesline, so Norman cut a piece of the tape and opened a small corner of the box. The box was emitting a very strong odour of women’s perfume, and when Norman looked inside the box he saw an empty bottle of perfume and something heavy wrapped in plastic.

Norman then realised that something wasn’t right, and contacted the local sheriff’s department.

When the police arrived, they started to look through the box properly. Inside of the box was an object that had been wrapped in heavy-duty plastic and secured with masking tape. It soon became evident to the police searching the box that the perfume had been used to mask the smell of decomposition.

Inside of the box was the body of a woman, who had been placed in the fetal position and then wrapped in plastic. Her head had been wrapped in paper towels, a white cloth towel, and two light coloured trash bag liners. The cause of death was later determined to be a single gunshot wound to the back of her head.

The box the lady was found in. Credit: The Dead History

The woman was in her late fifties to early sixties at the time of her death, she had brown eyes and brownish-grey or light brown hair. She was found wearing light green pants with a matching light green and tan knit skirt. She was not wearing any shoes, nor did she have any jewellery on her. Her nails were neatly trimmed, and there was no makeup present on her face at the time of her death. Investigators believe that the woman had been dead for at least 7 to 10 days before she was found.

Although police didn’t have a lot to work with, the woman’s body did have a few more things of interest that the police used to try and identify her. She had recently had a mastectomy on her right side, she had also had dental work done in the past but needed a lot more work to be done, and she had a vertical scar on her torso that spread from her sternum to her stomach.

Her fingerprints were collected, and the prints were sent to the FBI Lab, but no matches were ever found.

Newspapers shared a sketch of the woman, shown below, with the hopes that someone may recognise her and come forward.

Sketch of the Lady in the Box. Credit: Reddit.com

As some areas on her hands were suffering from callus, police believe that she may have been a cleaning lady. Their theory is that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and could have seen or heard something she wasn’t supposed to. There was also talks about the mafia being involved.

Investigators started to focus their efforts on the box itself, but unfortunately, the box was distributed to so many companies across such a large area, including Indiana, Chicago, southern Michigan, and parts of Wisconsin. Despite this, police do believe that the woman came from Chicago, as this type of crime rarely happened in rural Indiana.

Police then started to think about how the box managed to get into the field to start with. Norman Skoog’s farm was not accessible by any main roads, and could only be accessed by driving down a bunch of windy and bendy rural back roads. Norman also said that no corn stalks in the field were broken, which would have been the case if a person, or a group of people, were to have carried and placed the box down on foot.

Three different witnesses remember seeing a helicopter in the area of Skoog’s farm on the morning of the day the box was discovered. The reason this stood out is that not only is it very unusual for a helicopter to be seen over the area, but the helicopter was also a $160,000 white and gold Bell JetRanger – a helicopter that would only be available to major co-operations or wealthy people.

The theory that a helicopter placed the box down is somewhat supported by the evidence – there were no broken stalks of corn that would have been evident if someone had walked into the field and dropped it off. To add to this, it had been raining the night before the box was found, but when the box was discovered it was not wet or damp – meaning it had been placed in the cornfield after the rain.

On October 9th, 1976, the woman was buried in an unmarked grave in Fowler Cemetry, Benton County, Indiana.

Her body was exhumed in June 2019, by a team at the Human Identification Center at the University of Indianapolis. The information that they discovered, if any, has not been made publicly available.

Credit: Reddit.com

Tags:

Unsolved, Unknown, Murder, Homicide, Unknown Person, Investigation, True Crime, Unidentified

Published by

Kelly

I write my own blog about missing people and unsolved cases across the world, hoping one day to bring them justice.

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