On Nov. 28, 1969, Betsy Aardsma, a 22-year-old graduate student in English at Penn State, was stabbed to death in the stacks of Pattee Library at the university’s main campus in State College. For more than forty years, her murder went unsolved, though detectives with the Pennsylvania State Police and local citizens worked tirelessly to find her killer. The mystery was eventually solved—after the death of the murderer. This book will reveal the story behind what has been a scary mystery for generations of Penn State students and explain why the Pennsylvania State Police failed to bring her killer to justice. More than a simple true crime story, the book weaves together the events, culture, and attitudes of the late 1960s, memorializing Betsy Aardsma and her time and place in history.
David DeKok is a former investigative reporter for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where his last big story was a long, two-part series published in December 2008 on the then-unsolved Betsy Aardsma murder. He grew up in Betsy Aardsma’s hometown, Holland, Michigan, and went to the same high school and distinctly remembers reading the story of her murder in the local newspaper. His Holland ties have enabled him to win the trust of Betsy’s closest friends, as well as given him a unique perspective on the Dutch-American world in which she was raised. He is also the author of Fire Underground and The Epidemic. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa.