HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Tuesday marks 40 years since police found the body of Susan Reinert, a Montgomery County teacher, in Dauphin County. Her two young children remain missing and are presumed dead.
Reinert’s body was found in the open trunk of her car, in the parking lot of the former Host Inn Hotel in Swatara Township.
“I’ve done a good number of murder cases, but this was definitely off the charts,” said Skip Ebert, a former prosecutor in Dauphin County and now the district attorney of Cumberland County.
Two men, Jay Smith and Bill Bradfield, were convicted of murdering Reinert and her two children, 11-year-old Karen and 10-year-old Michael.
“Susan’s, quote, boyfriend Bill Bradfield and all of his crazy friends were down at the beach in New Jersey that weekend when she disappeared,” Ebert said.
“We alleged that there was sand found between the toes of her feet when they did the autopsy. The Commonwealth denied those allegations,” said William Costopoulos, who was Smith’s defense attorney.
After the verdict, it was learned the prosecution withheld that evidence.
Smith was released from prison in 1992 on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct.
“I believed at the time and I believe to this day that it was the right ruling. The system goes on,” Costopoulos said.
Ebert was set to prosecute a retrial.
“The state Supreme Court said enough’s enough, you are totally barred based on double jeopardy because of prosecutorial misconduct,” Ebert said.
Bradfield died of heart failure in 1998 while serving his three life sentences.
At that time, then-trooper Brian Krause was assigned to the case, along with another investigator.
“It’s one of those cases that people just don’t forget about,” Krause said.
State police followed many leads over the years but have never found the children.
“The efforts made to find those kids was second to none, and they were just never found,” Krause said.
“Hope springs eternal for closure for the family, but I just don’t know whether they’ll ever be found,” Costopoulos said.
Smith died from a heart condition at a Wilkes-Barre hospital in 2009.
As far as we know this investigation is still open, but a Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson wasn’t available Monday.