Beth Doe’s brother speaks out; cold case moves forward in Carbon
On Wednesday, relatives of Evelyn Colon, the victim in the 1976 “Beth Doe” homicide cold case came face to face with the man recently accused of her death.
“When I saw that luggage, I saw her image in my eyes. I can’t sleep at night. It was hard. I don’t want to find her like that,” said Luis Colon Sr., brother of Evelyn Colon.
Luis Sierra Sr., 63, of Ozone Park, New York, appeared in magisterial district court for a preliminary hearing in connection with the 1976 homicide of Evelyn Colon.
Colon and her unborn child were found in suitcases beneath an Interstate 80 bridge on Dec. 20, 1976. Coroners ruled that she died of strangulation and had also been shot. For decades, her unidentified remains were known by the name “Beth Doe.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Joseph D. Homanko ruled there was enough evidence against Sierra to send the case to county court.
Sierra’s defense attorney, Robert Madden, argued that the charges should be dismissed because there was no physical or forensic evidence linking his client to the crime.
According to state police and Colon’s brother, Sierra was the last person reported to have seen her alive. They also allege that a short time later, Sierra sent the family a letter, since lost, which said Evelyn had given birth to her child.
Luis Colon Sr. testified that the last time he and his parents saw Evelyn, she was with Sierra. The meeting occurred around December of 1976 at the family’s home in Jersey City, New Jersey. She was pregnant with Sierra’s child, and the couple had recently moved to an apartment in another neighborhood of Jersey City.
The letter, he recalled, came a few weeks later, possibly in January. It said the baby had been born, they had moved to Connecticut, and they would contact the family if they were needed.
Colon said the family believed the letter to be true. He said in the months after he last saw Evelyn, he approached police two times to discuss the letter, but no missing person report was filed.
“We believed when he said ‘We’re fine, don’t look for her, we’re going to Connecticut.’ but we questioned it later on. That’s when I asked the police,” Colon said.
Following the hearing, Colon said that despite what it may look like, the family never abandoned their search. He said his mother’s dying words were, “I need you to find Evelyn.”
Meanwhile, “Beth Doe” went unidentified for 45 years. State troopers obtained DNA in 2007. In 2020, a database matched her DNA with a sample obtained through a genealogy website. The sample was submitted by Luis Colon Jr., Evelyn’s nephew. He directed them to his father, who identified Sierra as a possible suspect.
Before his arrest, Sierra spoke with police for six hours without an attorney. The trooper who conducted the interview testified about their discussion Wednesday, against the objection of Sierra’s defense attorney.
Trooper Brian Noll said Sierra initially denied knowing Evelyn Colon. When troopers prompted him, he recalled that they had lived together during her pregnancy, but had parted ways due to an argument before the baby was born.
Sierra allegedly told Noll he tried to track down Colon at her parents’ house, but believed that they had moved away.
Noll said Sierra told him that it was possible he wrote the letter to the Colon family saying that the baby was born and they moved to Connecticut.
Defense attorney Madden objected to having Noll describe the content of the interview. He said he hasn’t yet received a copy of the six-hour interview.
Madden questioned why troopers hadn’t considered any other suspects. He presented an article on a serial killer who operated in Northern New Jersey at the time of Colon’s death, and became known as the “torso killer” due to his dismembering his victims.