EAST SIDE, Pa. — It's been a mystery for years here in the East Side Borough of Carbon County, but now investigators say a cold case murder more than 40 years old has been solved.
Luis Sierra, 63, from New York, has been charged with the murder of then 15-year-old Evelyn Colon from New Jersey and her unborn child.
Court papers say the girl was strangled, shot, and her body parts dismembered before being stuffed into suitcases and tossed off this bridge over the Lehigh River.
Luis Esa is the mayor of East Side Borough.
He was about 11 when the murder happened. His friend, who now lives in Texas, is the one who found the suitcases along the river.
"He's very happy, very happy that this can finally be put to rest. I mean, that's the whole thing here; everyone's families can be put to rest. I think he said he was 15 when he found it, so that had to be hard for him," said Mayor Luis Esa, East Side Borough.
Tips throughout the years, the victim remained unknown, identified only as "Beth Doe," and police kept searching for her killer.
Court papers show the case was cracked like this: in 2007, the victim's body was removed from a cemetery near Weatherly for a DNA test, but no matches were ever found.
Last year, a piece of her femur was sent to a lab in Texas. Results showed a link to living family members who confirmed their relative, Evelyn Colon, had gone missing back in the '70s.
The family told investigators Luis Sierra and Colon dated back then.
He was the father of the unborn child. The family thought the two ran off together, which is why no one ever went looking.
A letter was also sent to the family saying the baby was born and everything was fine, a year after Colon was killed.
People who live in this community tell Newswatch 16, a lot of people travel this interstate, so they think it's impressive state police were able to find out who they say did it after all these years.
"Someone is finally being brought to justice, and to think they got away with it for 40 years. It was a horrendous crime. Sorry, it had to happen here, but that 80 bridge carries a lot of traffic from people from all over the country. I am sure they saw the location and thought it's a good place as any.
Police say Sierra originally denied knowing Colon but later admitted they dated and he was the father of the child.
Sierra is locked up in New York.
He will be brought back to Pennsylvania in the coming weeks.