In 1980, twenty-seven-year-old Patricia Eve Gaugler was living in Richmond, Virginia. But she had big plans to move to Pottstown, Pennsylvania, to live with her brother, Earl.
So, in September, she set out on Interstate 95 for the six-hour car ride and was last seen at a Sunoco Gas Station along the route in Ashland at about 3:00 p.m. Tragically, though, Patricia never finished her journey, and her parents and brother never saw her again.
Instead, on September 29, Hanover County firefighters were alerted of a forest fire one mile west of Virginia 657 and 666. They rushed on to the scene and began battling the blaze but then came upon a horrific discovery– a woman’s remains.
Dr. M.G. Fransioli, the assistant state medical examiner, later identified the body as belonging to Patricia by comparing her dental work with x-rays forwarded from her dentist’s office.
Patricia’s cause of death was also found to be “upper airway burns due to immolation.” According to officials, her body showed no evidence of assault or other wounds. Nonetheless, investigator Rod Davis still considered her death a homicide.
Bizarrely enough, Patricia’s car was also discovered on a dirt road not far from the fire’s region.
And to this day, investigators still have no idea how or why Patricia ended up in the wooded area– which was nowhere near her route. In fact, the region several miles away from the Interstate.
Sadly, though, this question has never been answered. Instead, Patricia’s case has remained cold for over forty-two years now.
Hanover County Sheriff; pictured above is Patricia
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