Beverly Jarosz was 16 years old when she was murdered. Her body was found in Garfield Heights, Ohio, more than 55 years ago, and the person responsible for her death has yet to be brought to justice.
On Dec. 28, 1964, Beverly, an eleventh-grade student at Marymount High School (a Catholic girls’ school), and her 12-year-old sister, Carol, saw their parents—Thaddeus and Eleanor Jarosz—off to work.
Afterward, they walked a mile to their grandmother Marie Vanek’s house on Turney Road.
They stayed for lunch, but around 1 p.m., Beverly wanted to return to their home on Thornton Avenue, as she had planned to meet with her friend and classmate, Barbara Kionowski, also 16.
They were also going to meet up with another friend named Margie.
Beverley accepted a ride from an 18-year-old male who lived next door to her grandmother. When she got home, she called her mother to check in, and she wrote a message to her father.
Someone had called for him, but since her father wasn’t home, that person gave their name and said they would call back later. It was later uncovered that it was a fictitious name, according to Cleveland.
Vanek called as well, but Beverly didn’t talk long, as she told her grandmother that she was expecting Barbara to arrive at any minute and that she had to change her clothes.
Beverly gave no indication that anything was wrong.
At about 1:25 p.m., Barbara arrived. She noticed the sliding door was open, the storm door was locked, and there was music playing loudly in the background, which she thought was peculiar.
When Barbara knocked on the door, she heard a loud thump upstairs, as if someone was moving furniture.
She then went to the front door, rang the doorbell, knocked, and waited. When no one came to the door after waiting a few moments, she left, believing that she might have been stood up or teased.
Moments after Barbara arrived home, the phone rang. It was Margie, and she was wondering what was taking them so long. That’s when Barbara told her that Beverly didn’t answer the door when she went to her house.
Margie became concerned and contacted Vanek, who then called Beverly’s father at work. Thaddeus rushed home. When he pulled into the driveway around 4 p.m., he could hear the music blasting.
Thaddeus darted into the house and headed upstairs. When he went inside Beverly’s bedroom, he found her dead on the floor, laying face down next to her bed with a clothesline rope tied around her neck and ankles.
An autopsy performed by Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Samuel R. Gerber determined that Beverly’s cause of death was strangulation.
It was also revealed that she had been stabbed 42 times in the neck and chest.
Dr. Gerber stated that Beverly was stabbed with a knife, which has never been found. He added that although her clothes were yanked off her torso, she was not sexually assaulted.
She “still had her clothes on when she was stabbed. There were knife penetrations in her blood-soaked blouse. She put up a terrific fight,” Dr. Gerber told the Chillicothe Gazette.
Beverly’s bedroom was littered with torn clothing, and blood was splattered across the room.
The coroner examined Beverly’s fingernails for the assailant’s DNA but said, “So far, we do not believe the killer was marked by her nails.
They may have the identity of the killer, but according to Dr. Gerber, “The murderer almost certainly had to be a man.”
Investigators speculated that while Beverly was changing her clothes, she was startled by the killer, who was probably someone she knew as there were no signs of forced entry.
The three short-length pieces of clothesline rope that were found tied around the victim had loops, which led law enforcement officers to believe that Beverly’s murder was premeditated.
On Dec. 29, 1964, Det. Capt. William C. Horigan sent several officers to Beverly’s neighborhood to find out where the clothesline rope may have come from, as it did not belong to the Jarosz family.
But investigators have yet to find any clues.
Before Beverly was killed, veteran assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Paul Myles said someone was stalking her.
Her mother and sister recalled in an interview that, before the murder, they were receiving hang-up calls—sometimes 10 to 12 times a day. And someone had left an anonymous gift for Beverly on their back porch. It was a bracelet and a ring.
One night, Beverly’s father said he came home and saw someone standing on the front lawn, gazing up at her bedroom. Thaddeus chased that person down the block, but he was unable to catch him.
According to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, a guard, Virgil Austin, at the Cleveland Museum of Arts told police that he saw a man following Beverly, who was a frequent visitor, through the exhibit rooms.
He said the man had a “look of intense hatred in his eyes. If looks could kill, Beverly would have died in the museum.” He then went on to describe the man as “young, tall, and slim.”
Relatives stated that those incidents prompted Beverly to become jumpy. She would always make sure the doors were locked, and she would check in with her family whenever she went somewhere.
The boy who drove Beverly home on the day she was killed was taken to the police station for questioning, as were several other of her male acquaintances, but they were all released, The Newark Advocate reported.
German shepherd dogs were used to help trace the killer’s path of flight, but that was a dead end, as the trail ended on McCracken Road, near Beverly’s home.
Although it has been more than five decades since Beverly was found dead in her bedroom, law enforcement officers still believe that her case can be solved.
“We are taking steps to make that end possible. We haven’t stopped,” Myles said.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Beverly Jarosz is encouraged to contact the Garfield Heights Police Department at (216) 475-5686.