Unsolved: Jessica Hatch

Among Virginia’s most horrifying unsolved murders is that of 12-year-old Jessica Lee Sterling Hatch, who disappeared from a northwest Richmond neighborhood on February 5, 1984. Two months later, her dismembered body was found a rural, wooded area of Rockville in Hanover County. Jessica Hatch was a bright-eyed, blonde preteen who thought nothing of danger on the short walk from her parents’ house to her grandmother’s for dinner. But she never came home. Authorities, family and friends searched frantically, but Jessica was ultimately found in the least likely of places when her torso turned up in the backyard of a mobile home, approximately 22 miles away. With little physical evidence, the case went cold. Her clothes were sent for DNA testing in 2016, but to this day no suspect has been charged. Every murder is a tragedy, but this case involving a girl so coldly mutilated is every parents’ worst nightmare. If you have any information that could help solve this case, please call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at (804) 365-6266.