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Episode #22: Marguerite Keota - Murdered (1954)

On March 6, 1954 the frozen body of 22 year-old Marguerite Keota was found in a six foot hole beneath an outhouse on the grounds of an abandoned schoolhouse in Phoenixville, PA (Pickering Schoolhouse). She had been missing and feared kidnapped since the Tuesday prior.

Marguerite Keota

Birth: 1932 - Death: 3/6/1954

Ethnicity: Caucasian - Sex: Female

Height: Unknown - Weight: Unknown

Hair Color: Unknown - Eye Color: Unknown

Hometown: Phoenixville, PA (Chester County)

Crime Scene: She was found in an abandoned cesspool next to an old schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was located at Diamond Rock Rd and Old Valley Forge Rd at William’s Corner. The area had been experiencing subfreezing temperatures, which is why when Marguerite was finally discovered her body was covered in two inches of ice. She was fully clothed and her handbag and watch were also recovered at the site. Her watch had stopped at 1:25.This was about two miles from her home. In an article from 1976 Police Chief Joseph Kane said he and outside sources believed the weapon was a surgeon’s awl, a sharp, double-edged medical tool. Later reports said that the murder weapon was actually an ice pick.

Last Known Location Alive: Walking down an alley along Washington Ave.

Injury Description: She was stabbed three times in the chest then dumped into the cesspool. Unfortunately, she also had water in her lungs, so though bleeding out was her cause of death, she wasn’t dead when she went into the water. There was no sign of sexual assault.

Suspect Description: Multiple reports. 1. A witness said he observed the man putting the woman into a car. Later investigators would find an earring that was identified as Marguerite’s in the same alley. 2. Two men standing beside the parked green sedan turned their backs as his headlights brought them into view. Despite bitter weather, he said, one wore no top coat. The other man was attired in a top coat and had what appeared to be a blanket slung over his arm.

Additional Information: The outhouse where Marguerite was found was torn down the day after her body was found and no one knows who ordered that. A list of 25 suspects vanished from Phoenixville police records before the state police could see it. Apparently one of the suspects on the list was a prominent Phoenixville citizen. A coroner’s inquest was pending, but never completed, eventually being deemed “unnecessary.”

DNA: A single hair and skin under her finger nails.

Fingerprints: Unknown

If You have any information, no matter how small the detail please contact the Phoenixville Police Department at (610) 935-2440 or PA Crime Stoppers at 1-800-262-3080. Remember you can always remain anonymous.



08 Mar 1954, Page 12 - The Philadelphia Inquirer at (1954) 11 Mar 1954, 5 - The Plain Speaker at (1954) 13 Mar 1954, 2 - The Times-Tribune at (1954) 15 Mar 1954, Page 10 - The Philadelphia Inquirer at (1954) 24 Mar 1954, 18 - The News at (1954) The Morning Herald - Uniontown, Pennsylvania 29 July, 1957 Page 10 (1957) (1957) 17 Mar 1976, Page 24 - The Mercury at (1976) 29 Aug 1979, 13 - The Tampa Tribune at (1979) 18 Jun 1990, Page 16 - The Philadelphia Inquirer at (1990) The Murder of Marguerite Keota, Unsolved After More than 60 years : UnresolvedMysteries ( (2020) Marguerite K. Keota (1932-1954) - Find A Grave Memorial

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