Police receive mysterious calls about a woman missing for over 25 years.

Judith Hyams

Missing:

Gender: Female
DOB: 1943
Eyes:Brown
Hair: Black

CASE DETAILS

In the days before legalized abortion, some pregnant women turned to bogus doctors to perform the procedure, and many died. In 1965, in Coral Gables, Florida, a 22-year-old medical technician named Judith Hyams learned she was pregnant. On September 14,   she went for the operation and never returned. The name she gave for her pregnancy test was a false one, “B. Kenny,” an indication that she may have been trying to keep her condition a secret. Judith’s friend, Marilyn Jackson, never knew of her friend’s pregnancy:

“Judy never said anything to me that she might have been pregnant. She called me, I guess the day that she was going to have the abortion, if that is what happened, to tell me that she was leaving work early and going shopping.”

Did Judith have an illegal abortion?

That day, Judith went to her bank and withdrew $300.   She told her friends that she was going to buy a watch. Police believe that Judith used the money for an illegal abortion instead. Detective Sergeant Bob Robkin of the Coral Gables Police Department:

“We were able to determine that she contacted a close friend of hers who helped arrange an abortion through the suspect, Dr. George Hadju. And through that, a date and time and price were set for it. The last time she was seen, we feel that she was on her way to get this abortion.”

George Hadju was a Hungarian immigrant who posed as a physician. Police say he operated an illegal abortion clinic in Coral Gables. Marilyn does not believe that Judith died having the procedure:

“A lot of people have said that she died having an abortion. Judy was a lab technician.   She had a lot of medical knowledge. I find it hard to believe that she could’ve died that way. Surely she would have known. She was intelligent enough to know to go for help.”

Who was the man in Judith’s rental car?

Wherever she had gone that day, Judith Hyams never came home. Three weeks later, a rental car registered in Judith’s name was found 650 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia. On the back seat were traces of blood. According to Detective Sergeant Bob Robkin:

“Unfortunately, the car had been there two or three days before it was found. By the time we were able to conduct any crime scene work on it, the car had been handled by other police agencies. And by the time it got back to Dade County to be processed, whatever crime scene that existed was totally ruined.”

Scherer received odd phone calls

A local resident had seen a man in his thirties parking the vehicle. He removed what appeared to be a duffle bag from the trunk, and then left the area. This man was never identified. Three months later, George Hadju was arrested for impersonating a physician.

Police suspected Hadju might know about Judith Hyams’ disappearance from Coral Gables. However, George Hadju jumped bail and was never seen again.

Shortly after Hadju fled, the investigation into Judith’s disappearance ground to a halt.   And a quarter of a century passed. Then, a bizarre series of events caused the case to be re-opened. It began with a routine law enforcement seminar.

Coral Gables Police Captain Chuck Scherer lectured at a police academy near Omaha, Nebraska. When Scherer returned to Florida, he received a mysterious phone call. The caller claimed to be the host of a radio program in Omaha. He said he had received a phone call about the disappearance of Judith Hyams. But when Captain Scherer called the station the following day, the radio host said he had never heard of the Judith Hyams case and had not called Captain Scherer:

“I was confused. I didn’t know what to think. Why would a 25-year-old case surface all of a sudden out of Omaha, Nebraska, when, in fact I’ve never been to Omaha, Nebraska prior to that visit. I had no knowledge about the case. I never mentioned the case the whole time we were out there for the simple reason that I really didn’t know anything about it.”

An anonymous letter stated she was dead

Two days later, Captain Scherer received another strange phone call. This time, the caller said that Judy Hyams was alive and living in Omaha:

“My gut feeling was that something was going on to bring this case back up 25 years later. And it was very possibly that Judy was in fact living in the Omaha area.”

Then,   a story about the Hyams case appeared in a local newspaper, and Captain Scherer received a third mysterious phone call, this one mentioning the fraudulent doctor, George Hadju:

“The third phone call I received was from a man that identified himself as an informant for the FBI.   He refused to give me his name, but he said that he had just spent several weeks with Hadju over in Budapest, Hungary and gave me a phone number. I contacted Interpol, and they determined that the phone number he gave me indeed came back to the same name of the suspect at that time, the doctor that supposedly performed the abortion.”

Police couldn’t locate George Hadju in Hungary, but they felt it was highly unlikely that he was responsible for the phone calls. The only real evidence that Judith was alive came from the mysterious callers. Captain Scherer:

“The only possible scenario that I could see is that she didn’t want the family to know about the supposed abortion at the time, and she just disappeared and in fact was missing for 25 years.”

The calls gave Marilyn hope that her friend might still be alive:

“I believed that she was some place and that she could be found, or that she would come back, or that we’d know that she was all right. It’s hard to believe that she would be dead. I can’t understand if she was alive why she wouldn’t contact somebody after all this time. After all, there are no more stigmas left. Why wouldn’t she come back?”

Four days after this story was broadcast, an unsigned letter arrived at the Coral Gables Police Department. The typewritten note said that Judith Hyams died from complications during an illegal abortion and that her body was dumped in Biscayne Bay near Miami.   Police feel the letter was legitimate, and have no explanation for the mysterious phone calls from Nebraska. Detective Sergeant Bob Robkin closed the case, but questions remain:

“We would like the author of the letter to come forward and to contact us at the Coral Gables Police Department. Because the statue of limitations expired on the case, there would be no criminal prosecution. We would also guarantee total confidentiality to the writer of the letter.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season three with Robert Stack and in season seven with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I doubt Judith is the Bear, Delware Jane Doe/Miss X; the timeline doesn’t fit. Jane Doe was found on March 18, 1967, only hours after her death. Judith disappeared in 1965. There is no way she could have been “three months pregnant” two years later. Also, Jane Doe didn’t die from a botched abortion – she died from an untreated infection. They look similar, but the details just don’t match.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous

    shes alive, she decided not to go forth with the abortion in the end. and 25 years later
    she called the station to be found. but she got cold feet and disapeared again.

    Reply

  3. Linda

    Has anyone checked if the analysis done on the Jane Doe from Bear, DE matches this person? Until this person comes forth to prove she is alive she still is considered missing. I am sure there is some way to verify if this person matches the Jane Doe from DE. This is to coincidental the information regarding both woman. The Jane Doe site does not show this person above as being checked against Jane Doe as a possible match. Therefore it seems it has slipped through the cracks.

    Reply

  4. Michelle

    Why no mention of the babies father? Who would have more motive to kill and disappear her? I assume they have no idea who he is, hence no mention? A 30 year old, unidentified man dumped her car. …sounds about right.
    Maybe they interviewed and eliminated him as a suspect. But if you don’t present that info, all I’m thinking is he killed her

    Reply

  5. Elise

  6. Valerie

    This Jane doe looks just like her and the story fits this case the second sketch looks just like her http://doenetwork.org/cases/743ufde.html Unidentified Female

    Date of Discovery: March 18, 1967
    Location of Discovery: Bear, New Castle County, Delaware
    Estimated Date of Death: Hours prior
    State of Remains: Recognizable face
    Cause of Death: Septicemia (blood poisoning/infection)
    Physical Description

    ** Listed information is approximate
    Estimated Age: 16-25 years old
    Race: White
    Gender: Female
    Height: 5’2″
    Weight: 110-115 lbs.
    Hair Color: Dark brown, long and curly, tied back with a 1/2″ X 8″ red ribbon.
    Eye Color: Brown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: Vaccination scar on front of the left thigh. No birth marks or surgical scars. Both ears pierced, although it didn’t appear that she had worn earrings in quite a while. Approximately three months pregnant. Fair complexion. Blood type O. Petite.
    Dentals: Available. Dental coding from limited dental charting done in 1967. No radiographs to confirm. Natural teeth in good dental repair, probably last seen by a dentist about six months to a year prior to death.
    Fingerprints: Available.
    DNA: Available.
    Clothing & Personal Items

    Clothing: Blue bikini style panties with manufacturers label removed. Her bra size is estimated to be 34DD.
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown
    Case History

    The victim’s body was located off the shoulder of Porter Road, a rural area in Bear, New Castle County, Delaware. This location is just a few miles away from Interstate 95 and US Highway 40.

    Her legs were stuffed inside of a large white cloth commerical laundry bag (24″ X 36″) which bore the markings “Bag O – Storage. American Laundry. Dry Cleaning. EX4 5277.” The laundry bag was found to be from a laundry and dry cleaning company located in Trenton, New Jersey.

    Initially, it was believed that she had died as a result of a botched abortion. It is now known that she died from not receiving medical care for an infection.

    Recent ancestry testing suggests she may be of European, Italian, Greek, or Jewish descent. DNA was compared with genealogy websites and revealed a maternal connection with relatives in Virginia and North Carolina, but no one contacted knows who the victim is.

    She is buried in Potter’s Field in Delaware.

    Investigating Agency(s)

    If you have any information about this case please contact;
    Agency Name: Delaware State Medical Examiners Office
    Agency Contact Person: Hal Brown
    Agency Phone Number: 302-577-3420, ext. 206
    E-Mail
    Agency Case Number: ME: 67-N-170
    NCIC Case Number: N/A
    NamUs Case Number: UP #7097

    Reply

  7. Rebecca

    Even though Judy was a lab technician and she had a lot of medical knowledge, it seems she had made up her mind to not keep her baby. At 22 she was probably scared, ashamed, the stigma during that time a single unwed mother with a child, thinking she can lose her job, she could not support her child. Many contributing factors could have caused her to went through with the abortion. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. She probably went through with the abortion and end up dying, after all George Hadju was not a real Physician. Complications could have set in afterwards and she succumbed, Someone transported her body in the rental car and dumped it, then took off with the car. Such a sad story, she was so young, the one person who knows what happened to Judy cannot be found. If she was alive hopefully she would have contacted friends or family. No closure for this family at this time.

    Reply

  8. Jon Bon

    One could suppose that the mysterious caller was, perhaps, a relative or friend, desperate for closure and willing to do whatever it would take to get the police to re-open the case – just to look at it again in case something would click.

    Reply