School yearbook photograph of Betsy Aardsma
|Born||Betsy Ruth Aardsma
July 11, 1947
|Died||November 28, 1969
University Park, Centre County, Pennsylvania
Cause of death
|Pilgrim Home Cemetery, Holland, Michigan|
|Home town||Holland, Michigan|
Betsy Aardsma (July 11, 1947 – November 28, 1969) was a 22-year-old graduate English major from Holland, Michigan, who was murdered in the "Stacks" area of Pattee Library at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in 1969.
Aardsma was in the library on November 28, 1969, doing research for a paper. At some point between 4:45 PM and 4:55 PM, she was stabbed a single time through the heart with a knife. She fell and a minute or so later one or two men exited the central region of the library, telling a desk clerk that "Somebody better help that girl" as they left. The man or men who spoke to the desk clerk have never been identified. Bystanders rendered first aid, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, to Aardsma and a call was placed to the campus hospital, the Ritenour Health Center, at 5:01 PM. By 5:19 PM, an ambulance had transported Aardsma to the Health Center, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
After Aardsma was stabbed, the wound produced only a small amount of visible blood. Also, Aardsma was wearing a red dress at the time. As result of these two facts, the first responders thought that perhaps she had experienced a seizure or some other medical ailment. It was not until Aardsma was examined at the Health Center that anyone realized that she had been stabbed.
In 1990, Pamela West, an author who had researched the case in the 1980s, wrote a book called "20/20 Vision," which was a science-fiction story based on the details of the case. West stated that she had originally intended to write a true crime story, but was concerned with libel issues related to the fact that so many people involved were still alive at the time. A 2011 book about the case, "Who Killed Betsy? Uncovering Penn State University's Most Notorious Unsolved Crime," purports to reveal the killer's identity.
- "Betsy Ruth Aardsma". Findagrave.com. Find A Grave, Inc. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- "Cries for Help go Unheeded". Daily Collegian. 1969-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Decades later, Penn State library slaying unsolved". Chicago Tribune. 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- ISBN 0-345-36736-7
- ISBN 0-615-49811-6
- "Mystery of the girl in the stacks continues to intrigue public", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 25, 2009.
- "Who Killed Betsy Aardsma", "LancasterOnline', October 10, 2010.