Handwriting Cracks 1984 Cold Case — And Police Think The Husband Did It

Maryann Bagenstose vanished without trace and her estranged husband Jere Bagenstose is now accused of her murder.

Verity Partington


Maryann Bagenstose (Images: The Charley Project)

When 25-year-old Maryann Bagenstose from Pennsylvania disappeared in the summer of 1984, her estranged husband maintained he had no idea what had happened to her. However, in a surprising twist, he has now been arrested on suspicion of killing her — after detectives used handwriting analysis to find some major holes in his story.

Where is Maryann?

It was June 1984, and Maryann Bagenstose and her husband Jere were living apart following a separation. Maryann was taking care of their two-year-old son, but the custody battle was already proving acrimonious.

A court hearing had been set for June 15th at which Jere was expected to argue that he should be granted custody. He was also unhappy that Maryann had embarked upon a new relationship with another man whom she had originally taken in as a boarder.

On June 5th 1984, Jere went to their West Willow Road marital home to meet Maryann as part of a pre-arranged visit during which he was supposed to help her buy a new car. However, he said that when he got there, Maryann wasn’t quite ready to go and hadn’t finished applying her makeup.

Jere said he took the couple’s little boy to the park to feed the ducks while they waited. But when he returned, he said he found no sign of Maryann. Instead, he claimed she had left him a note in which she said she intended to walk to the nearby Turkey Hill store to pick up some things.

It wasn’t until two days later, when Maryann’s mother grew concerned that she had not heard from her daughter, that Jere revealed he had not seen her since he left the house.

Police were instantly suspicious that Jere had not reported his wife missing, and became even more so when they searched the house on June 13th to find a crumpled-up note in the living room that did not mention Turkey Hill at all. Instead, it simply said: “Had to run a quick errand, be right back.”

On June 15th 1984, Maryann failed to attend the custody hearing and Jere was…



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a