Unidentified Wiki

For the decedent formerly known as Woman in the Trunk, please see Sylvia Atherton

"Cheerleader in the Trunk" (also referred to as "Woman in the Trunk" and "Lady in the Trunk") was a young woman found dead in a footlocker in 1982 in Frederick County, Maryland. 21 women have been ruled out as the decedent.


On August 24th, 1982 in Frederick, Maryland, a woman’s body was found inside a footlocker, a few feet off a gravel road in Gambrills State Park in the Catoctin Mountains. The footlocker was in plain view but had sticks and leaves placed over the trunk, possibly in a poor attempt to disguise it. She had been concluded to be deceased for at least several months, placing her death as recently as Spring 1982, but she may have died up to 10 years prior.

A forensic anthropologist observed skeletal features in the lower back and feet that may have been related to a previous injury or injuries. The woman also had extensive dental work completed consisting of several fillings, root canals, and crowns. No clothing or jewelry was found with the remains, but a dark colored towel was found nearby.

Early in the investigation, she was given an age range that previously extended to 45 years, but in 2020, the NCMEC narrowed it to 27. The NCMEC has also released a 2020 reconstruction.


  • Signs of wear on bones, especially the hips, indicating past activity in gymnastics, cheerleading, or sports.
  • Earlobes may have protruded unnaturally.
  • Extensive dental work.
  • Presence of Spondylolysis, a defect or stress fracture in the lumbar vertebrae that could have been asymptomatic.
  • Dark, medium-length, slightly wavy brown hair.
    • Natural hair color may have been reddish-brown based on pubic hair.
  • May have often worn her hair in a ponytail due to the theory of being an athlete.


  • Dark colored towel.




  • The case briefly appeared on The New Detectives when this victim was a suggested identity for a missing woman, who was later found dead.
  • The case was later shown on Nancy Grace.



  1. The victim's age range was previously listed to extend up to 45.