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Thursday, November 15, 2012

State Police Looking for Information in 1968 Unsolved Homicide

State Police Looking for Information in 1968 Unsolved Homicide

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State Police is looking for information on an unsolved case, which involved the murder of United States Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau. He was discovered deceased along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Chester County, Pennsylvania about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

On November 18, 1968, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, while on routine turnpike patrol, spotted a man in a seated position alongside the highway about a mile east of the Downingtown interchange. The trooper stopped to check on the man and found that he was deceased. An autopsy determined that the victim had been stabbed once through the heart. He carried no identification and was considered a John Doe. He remained unidentified for 44 years.

On July 29, 2009, in an effort to further the investigation, members of the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Assessment /Missing Persons Unit with assistance from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and Chester County Coroner’s Office, exhumed John Doe’s body. Bone samples were sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification where a DNA profile was obtained and entered into a national missing persons DNA database.

Suspecting the victim might have been in the military because of his physical description at the time and two tattoos; one being a bird in flight with a heart in the background, and the other being a bulldog wearing a World War I helmet with letters “USMC” printed below it, a request for assistance was sent to the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service Cold Case Unit and the U.S. Marine Corps Absentee Collection Unit.

On May 31, 2012, John Doe was positively identified by DNA as Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau, United States Marine Corps. Cpl. Corriveau, just shy of his 21st birthday, was an active duty Marine who had been wounded in action on three separate occasions in Vietnam in 1967. At the time of his disappearance, Cpl. Corriveau was a patient at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric treatment for a combat related condition. Cpl. Corriveau was discovered missing by hospital personnel at approximately 7:50 a.m. on November 18, 1968, the same day he was found deceased.

Cpl. Corriveau, originally from Lawrence, Massachusetts, was 20 years old at the time of his death. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in March 1965. He served several tours in Vietnam, was injured in the line of duty and was awarded two purple hearts. He previously received psychiatric treatment for a combat related condition at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

The Pennsylvania State Police is asking for the public’s assistance in recalling any details that could help to solve this case. This would include members of the United States Marine Corps or Navy who may have served with Cpl. Corriveau and Naval personnel or patients who were present at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in October and November 1968.

Individuals with information are asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 610-268-5158 or email RA-1968MarineDeath@pa.gov.

If you have information about this case or any serious crime or wanted person, call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS or visit their website at www.PACrimeStoppers.org. Tips made to Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers may be eligible for a cash reward.

Learn more about the Pennsylvania State Police online at www.psp.state.pa.us.

22 comments :

Anonymous said...


It looks to me like the police didn't put much effort into trying to find out who this man is 44 years ago. That seems to be the case in a lot of cold cases that get solved years later.

Anonymous said...


Looks like there was some lazy police work done 44 years ago .

Anonymous said...

44 years ago there were no computer systems for police to cross-reference such things. There wasn't a fingerprint or DNA database until decades later.

not sure how it sounds like it was lazy police work when there aren't any facts regarding that investigation.

most cases that aren't solved within 48 hours turn into cold cases.

I believe that recent cases should be handled first since crime labs and such are so backed up as it is, but I commend law enforcement for looking into these things as time/priority allows.

Anonymous said...

There was no DNA etc 44 years ago but there was common sense . The man was found only a few miles from a hospital where a person of his description was reported missing . It's patently unfair to his family that is took 44 years for somebody to connect the dots and 29figure that out to get them some closure .

Anonymous said...

Well said 12:56

Anonymous said...


Well said 5:50

Anonymous said...

5:50,

When did "common sense" include making up facts?!

Where does it say that the hospital reported anyone "with his description missing?"

He was discovered missing, HOWEVER, if he was there on his own accord he had the right to leave whenever he wanted. That being said, the hospital would have no reason to report him missing.

You completely MADE UP that he had been reported to police...the article does not say that.

It's amazing to me that when words in black and white are clearly written they can be twisted and fabricated...that's common sense?!



Anonymous said...

Funny what one reads when the mind is already set to blame law enforcement!

Anonymous said...

Spin it any way you want . Any sane person with access to a telephone could have found out who this poor guy was in a matter of days , not years like it took .

Anonymous said...

When you read the article with the intentions of blaming Police no matter what was written or facts or no facts, you aren't going to think any other way.

If he was not reported missing to police, the police had no phone call to make in order to find out who the man was. Yet that being said, how many phone calls had been made?? You have no idea, nor do I, yet find yourself entitled to say what YOU think would have solved his identity??!! If you want a badge, get a badge and solve all these cold cases that you seem so superior to judge.

Spinning is saying something happened that in fact did not. I'm pointing out words that are written in black and white and possibilities that sadly could have prevented someone from connecting the dots 44 years ago.

It's shameful the fingers that are pointed at men/women who did what they could then and are still doing what they can so many years later with the help of science.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you outhouse lawyers should stop parsing words and trying to make assumptions about me such as inferring that I don't like the police and take your own advice and read what's there in black and white . Any honest cop will tell you that they tend to give the most attention to cases they're under pressure to solve . In this case there apparently was little or no pressure . That's just the way it is .
The body had identifying marks such as tattoos and it must have had battle scars since he had been wounded, all things that would have been on record and available to any police agency that bothered to check .
I notice you were careful to say that his absence probably wasn't reported to the police but since he was military he would have been reported as AWOL . Don't forget that he was found not far from the hospital he left . At the very least the police should have checked a military all nearby hospitals You can parse and try to belittle me all you want ,the police dropped the ball on this one and his family deserved better
Now get yourself a reality instead of blindly supporting law enforcement,they sometimes make mistakes and do shoddy wsork just like everybody else does .

Anonymous said...

Reality is not making up lies and then calling what they did lazy!

Common sense has nothing to do with anything you have written.

You're a liar and having proven that several times over from your posts I think it's safe to say that you're not all there.

What to disagree, fine. Want to prove your point by making up things, find a two year old and have at it.

Anonymous said...

The hospital did report him AWOL, but only to military police. In fact his family was not aware that he was missing from the hospital until several days later when they called to see if he would be home for Thanksgiving.

Police did attempt to do what they could with his fingerprints but again, that was 44 years ago and without a data base little could be done.

They did in fact take pictures of his tatoo's and made them public with the hopes that someone could identify him.

With out the hospital advising local police (which is not prodical) police had little to go on, yet other articles clearly state, and show the tatoo pictures, that they did what they could then to find out who he was.

Although it took so long, his family was able to change his status as a deserter and bury him next to his father.

Anonymous said...


2;57 , I made my point better than you did . Only a coward hiding behind a keyboard would call somebody a liar or question the mental stability of somebody they know nothing about . Maybe you should take a good look at yourself . Besides being a coward you sound a bit immature, no matter what your age might be I'm through with you .

3;42 that's interesting . I'd be interested in hearing where you got that information .

Anonymous said...

I wrote both comments.

I decided to disagree and do a little homework.

I didn't have to make up anything or post my own twisted opinion.

Google his name, you will find articles regarding his family, ect.

During their investigation, police named him "Bulldog John Doe," because of his military tatoos. Lazy police work, or maybe officers who wanted to find answers for this young man?? Sadly, that couldn't happen until science allowed.

You'll also see that it was police and private detectives that helped this family connect the dots along the way while facing brick walls from the military and government.

Anonymous said...


6;03 . It's good that you did the research .Not so good that you don't have any tolerance for anybody who dares to disagree with you . My opinions are not twisted. I didn't make anything up and I am certainly not crazy or a liar. I suggest you get over yourself .

Anonymous said...

"where a person of his description was reported missing"

you made that up!

like I said, disagree all you want but don't lie...that's all I'm saying.

I don't mind not seeing eye to eye, but lie or make up things and well by golly...you've got a "tolerance" problem.

have a good one!

Anonymous said...


For the last time , I did not make anything up or lie . The man was at some point reported as missing . My assesment of you and your cowardice was also spot on . Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Shake my head... :)

Anonymous said...

You should be shaking your head . If you were half as smart as you would like me to believe you would have shut up long ago and moved on. Most of your response to me was personal attacks which is a downright cowardly thing to do from the safety of your home . Your attempts at intimidation are both laughable and pathetic . Maybe you should be a little more selective in picking your battles That's all . Bye bye .

Anonymous said...

If it walks like a duck.....

Mrs Sharon Corriveau said...

I am CPL CORRIVEAUS wife, shoddy police work isnt all that happened to my husband.The Philly Naval Hosp. also did nothing, Bobby went out on friday nov 15 with a few military men and never returned to the hosp, he was murdered monday and placed on the turnpike 27 miles from the hosp. no one ever reported him missing, the hosp reported to the Marine Corps and that was the end of it. Bobby did have a healed bullet and several fingers injured,he also had a very large bulldog on his arm with initals USMC. What happened to my husband was a sin,he was HERO