Who Was Marie Heiser? Slain Mother From 1977 Cold Case Identified as Wife of Former Cop

A 1977 homicide victim has been identified by DNA as Marie Heiser.
The husband of Marie Heiser told their children she had abandoned the family, authorities said.New Castle Police Department

The now-deceased husband of Marie Heiser told their children she had run away in 1977. DNA recently identified the cold-case remains of slain woman as belonging to the Pennsylvania mother.

The mysterious disappearance of a Pennsylvania mother in 1977 has finally been solved though the ending is not a happy one. 

The remains of homicide victim found in a Delaware ditch were identified earlier this month as belonging to Maire Heiser, whose husband told their two children in 1977 that she had packed her bags and abandoned them, authorities said. 

New Castle police in Delaware had long sought to identify the Jane Doe body found by a boy riding home on his bicycle. Fingerprints found no match in databases at the time, and it wasn't until recent DNA testing was completed that authorities could identify the remains as Heiser's. She was a 50-year-old homemaker who was apparently never reported missing by her husband, a former Philadelphia law enforcement officer.

"The children had been told by their father that their mother had packed her bags and left the residence in Philadelphia, leaving behind no information on where she had gone," reads a New Castle Police Department statement released last week.

Her husband,  William Heiser, Sr., had been a member of the Philadelphia Police Department's Highway Patrol during the 1950s and early 1960s, authorities said. In his later life, he had moved to Florida, where he died from cancer in 2006.

A cause of death has not been publicly released and New Castle police say the case is still open and under investigation.

The Heiser children are now grown and have been informed of their mother's homicide, authorities said. The daughter lives in California, and the son resides in Florida, where he is a retired sheriff's deputy.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact New Castle County Police Detective Jeffrey Sendek at (302) 395-8110. He can also be reached via email at Jeffery.Sendek@newcastlede.gov.