On the day of her murder, 28-year-old Patricia Eve Gaugler was travelling from her hometown of Pottstown, Pennsylvania to her brother’s home in Richmond, Virginia. She was last seen alive around 3:00pm on September 29, 1980, at the Sunoco gas station at East Patrick Henry Road in Ashland, Virginia, near I-95.
Patricia’s body was laster found along a gravel trail – later named Wesley’s Court – just off what is now Greenwood Church Road, in Ashland. Firefighters were battling a forest fire in the area when they came across her badly-burned body in the wooded area.
Her body was positively identified through the use of dental records. The medical examiner and investigators with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office deemed her death a homicide, saying she’d died from “upper airway burns due to immolation”. The autopsy found no other wounds on her body, and no evidence of sexual assault was noted.
It was not determined if Patricia had been conscious at the time of her death.
Very little has been publicly shared regarding the investigation into Patricia’s murder. At present, all that’s known is that investigators are not sure how the 28-year-old wound up in the the wooded area, several miles from I-95.
Patricia’s mother, Mary Gaugler, passed away in October 2010.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Those with information regarding the murder of Patricia Eve Gaugler are asked to contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at either 804-365-6396 or 804-865-6140. Tips can also be called in anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.
Image Credit: Hanover County Sheriff’s Office