Police have closed a missing person-homicide case that happened 33 years ago.
On May 11, 1983, Susan Marie Rath-Cerratelli, 25, disappeared from her home in Long Pond, PA and was never heard from again. According to her husband Andrew Cerratelli, he left that morning to travel to Philadelphia and when he returned home around 6:00 PM that evening she was gone. However, Andrew did not report his wife missing to the police until almost three weeks later.
Police investigated Susan’s disappearance as a missing persons case and interviewed her friends and family. Her family members told investigators that it was not like Susan to not stay in contact with them regularly.
Although investigators suspected that Andrew was involved in Susan’s disappearance from the beginning, they never had enough information to turn her missing person case into a homicide investigation. Twenty four years later, in 2007, Pennsylvania state police started investigating Susan’s disappearance as a murder case, with Andrew as the prime suspect.
Unfortunately, Andrew Cerratelli died of a drug overdose in February 2007, shortly after the state police started to investigate Susan’s possible murder. As a result, the case went unsolved until recently.
Andrew was living with his girlfriend Debra Wheelis at the time of his death in 2007. After almost 10 years of silence, Debra recently agreed to speak to the police about threats that Andrew had made to her when they were together.
In September 2016, Debra stated in a sworn statement to police that Andrew had made reference to his missing wife in a threat he made to her. According to Debra’s sworn police statement, Andrew had said to her, “If you ever cheat on me, I will throw you down the hole where I threw my wife.”
According to Debra, Andrew found out that Susan had cheated on him, so he murdered her and drove her body to an abandoned mine in a remote area and dumped her body down an old mine shaft in Centralia, PA.
Unfortunately, the police are unable to search and find Susan’s remains. Centralia has been abandoned due to health hazards associated with the old mining operation and there is an underground fire that has been burning in the abandoned mine since 1962.
However, thanks to Debra’s sworn statement, investigators and district attorney have decided that the missing person homicide case for Susan Cerratelli can finally be closed.