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L&C Bench Dedication Honors Monti Girls Killed in 1969

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Article by: Jan Dona, L&C Marketing and PR, jdona@lc.edu

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s Criminal Justice program held a garden bench dedication Thursday, in remembrance of a pair of Monticello Women’s Junior College students who vanished on Memorial Day weekend in 1969.

Elizabeth Perry, of Excelsior, Minn., and Susan Davis, of Camp Point, Pa., both 19, met as Monticello students and were vacationing in Ocean City, N.J. The women were last seen on May 30, 1969 at a restaurant in Sommers Point, NJ. A state trooper later found their blue 1966 Chevrolet convertible abandoned on the Garden State Parkway and had it towed. Three days later, their bodies were found about 200 yards from the highway.

Although law enforcement has followed many leads and theories over the years, the case has not been solved and the investigation remains open.

After learning about the story, L&C Criminal Justice Associate Professor Jessica Noble decided to engage her students in a service project.

“We decided to create a memorial garden and bench outside of Haskell Hall on the Godfrey Campus,” she said. “The area will help the community at large have a place to reflect and take a moment of silence for the two women and other crime victims.”

Criminal Justice student Rosie Gogue believes the bench dedication is not only meaningful for the women who were murdered, but to every woman who is victimized without cause.

“This stresses the importance of raising awareness of cases that have gone cold,” she said. “One day, we hope that justice can come for these families.”

The bench is located in a small garden outside the north entrance to Haskell Hall.

Noble credits her Criminal Justice students, as well as several individuals, organizations and L&C departments for making the project happen, including L&C President Ken Trzaska, The Monticello College Foundation and Director of Development Debby Edelman, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) Region 45 and the IEA 45 Retired Chapter, Greg Cash of L&C Library Services, L&C welding students and Program Coordinator Travis Jumper, L&C Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch and Landscape Designer Katie Piper. 

To learn more about the murders of Perry and Davis, Noble recommends the book “The Garden State Parkway Murders” by Christian Barth, a non-fiction work that provides information surrounding the two students and the investigation.

For more information about L&C’s Criminal Justice program, contact Noble at (618) 468-4524 or jbnelson@lc.edu.