Karen Lynn Zendrosky, age 16, went missing from Bordentown Township, New Jersey, on October 23, 1979.
She was last seen at a local bowling alley in the evening hours. She reportedly went to a water control plant with two or three men in their 20’s, but it is not known if she went willingly or against her will. The area was frequently used as a party spot back then.
Tips have come forward in the years since her disappearance, directing law enforcement to a sludge pit in the vicinity of the water plant – a search was done over several days, thanks to the wonderful people at J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, who volunteered their time and equipment to isolate and empty specific areas of interest in the sludge pits. Investigators stated that due to the lack of oxygen needed for decomposition, it was likely that her remains could be found in tact, along with items such as zippers and buttons.
The search turned up shotgun shells, plastic wrappers, and assorted litter. Investigators said the items were identifiable and well-preserved, and they were optimistic about finding her remains equally well-preserved. The three 10′ areas of the pit that were searched did not yield a body, and no further searching has been done.
I still think she’s there. I still think she can be found. I think she needs to be found.
According to ABC News, investigators have a good idea of who was responsible for her disappearance, and stated they intend to prosecute these individuals if sufficient evidence can be found.
Newspaper articles indicated that investigators are still seeking information on her disappearance – which initially frustrated me, because they’ve already talked to the people who were there at the water plant that night, they’ve been told that she was killed in the wooded area and then dumped into the sludge pit, and they admit they know who was likely involved. It seems as though they haven’t completely searched the sludge pit, so I felt as though their plea for more tips wouldn’t really be taken seriously. The only people who could tell investigators exactly where in the pit to find her are the same people investigators have already talked to.
To their credit, however, they are a small town and apparently each area they search costs approximately $250,000. I do understand that Bordentown probably doesn’t have the resources, without taking away from other crimes that are equally in need of their attention.
Due to the hazardous nature of dealing with the sludge, I’d guess it isn’t something that random volunteers can assist with. That’s unfortunate, as I’m sure there’d be hundreds of willing searchers.
Below is a Google Earth image of what I believe to be the water plant, with the sludge pit to the left.
There’s got to be some way that this search can continue so that Karen can be brought home.
Any self-employed haz-mat vacuum truck operators out there that might be willing to volunteer their services so we can bring this lovely girl home?