To date, the case is still unsolved and the mystery of how Jeannette DePalma wound up missing and dead still goes unanswered. However, a lot of speculation would follow her death. Authorities said that DePalma’s body was found in a unique position at a location known for transients and occult activity (via Morbid Library). The time period was also the era of the Jesus movement, a revolutionary hippie Christian campaign, in which its followers redefined Christianity to include their own “progressive” ideals and were often part of cults, per Timeline.
Newspapers back then reported that some of the items observed near DePalma’s body were cross-like pieces of twigs and branches, but none of that was seen in photos of the crime scene, says Weird NJ. Instead, just big branches and her purse was found. For decades, there were rumors of her death being connected to a satanic ritual. The cliff where she was found, Devil’s Teeth, was a rumored cult area. The case managed to have a stronghold on residents because witchcraft was blamed for a murder a few months earlier, per New York Daily News.
Ultimately, evidence photos suggested that occult involvement was likely an unfounded or misinterpreted observation. Other explanations that arose as a cause of her death was a possible overdose. DePalma had a high lead level in her body, per Morbid Library. It is also likely that she fell victim to a predator, who wound up dumping her body. Despite a few books written on the case, years later, what caused DePalma’s death is still unclear. There hasn’t been a concrete lead in decades.