Left and Right: Bertha circa, 1978
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: May 11, 1978
Missing From: Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: March 27, 1964
Age: 14 years old
Height and Weight: 5’1″ and 89 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Hazel eyes
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A dark green print pullover shirt and blue jeans or possibly light green striped slacks
Details of Disappearance
Bertha was allegedly abducted along with her friend, Judy Ann Adams from Morgan City, Louisiana on May 11th 1978. Both girls attended a fair for Central Catholic High School on the grounds of the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium. They both left the the fair and were last seen walking at 11:30 pm back home. A witness reportedly saw both Judy and Bertha enter an unidentified white vehicle with an unidentified man. Neither of them were ever seen again.
Police initially presumed that both girls had simply runaway but soon that theory was discarded. On May 25th 1978, the body of Judy Adams was found in a septic tank in Bayou Vista, Louisiana. She was 15 years old when she was abducted. She was the victim of an abduction and was strangled to death. Investigators believe that Bertha was killed along with Judy.
Investigators also found the body of 19 year old Bridget Cantrell Sons. Her body was found in the septic tank with Judy’s body. Both victims were bound and Bridget was also strangled. She was abducted during a robbery that took place in the Penny Saver Store on April 27th 1978. Another teenager named Gordon M. Cannella Jr. was also abducted with Bridget from the store. His body was later found in a cane field.
Bertha and another girl, Mary Leah Rodermund, remain missing. Mary disappeared in March of 1978 at the age of 16. They are the only abduction victims from that time whom remain missing.
Investigators suspect that Bertha, Judy, Bridget, Gordon, and Mary were all victims of serial killer, Robert Carl Hohenberger. He was previously a sheriff deputy in California and investigators believe he used his police badge to gain the trust of his victims or lure them. He raped 4 women in California and was imprisoned for his crimes until he escaped prison and moved to Louisiana under an alias. It’s possible that he killed up to 7 people before taking his own life in June of 1978. He killed himself as police attempted to arrest him. He matched the description of a man sought in Sons and Cannella’s kidnapping.
Investigators have searched areas looking for the bodies of Gould and Rodermund but have never been able to recover them.
Bertha was born in Jackson, Mississippi and lived in Yazoo City, Mississippi until she moved to Morgan City, Louisiana in early 1978 to live with her parents. Her remains have never been recovered but foul play is suspected in her case.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Morgan City Police Department 985-380-4605