Last week, I got a call from a mysterious number. A gruff male voice answered, "Buck Plank here...". Turns out a friend of Buck's found my note at the trout hatchery and delivered it to him. He agreed to be interviewed. On Saturday, my cameraman, Mike Hicks, and I drove down to the hatchery and saw this electrician's van parked along the shoulder of the desolate Ravine Road.
Buck slid out of the van and quickly said he didn't want to be photographed. As a documentary filmmaker, this gave me a moment of pause. But, Buck has a good reason: For many years, he worked as a kind of litter patrolman in Valley Creek and was once responsible for slapping a $65k fine on some illegal dumper. Needless to say, Buck is a man with "many enemies".
We talked for a good half an hour and he provided many more details about the discovery of the suitcase. One detail that Buck seemed to be fixated on is that the suitcase was wrapped in industrial grade Romex wire.
Though Buck is an electrician, he did not recognize the model of wire but said the serial number and manufacturer would be printed on the rubber casing. This brings me to Buck's theory....
In July, 1995, there was a carnival right up the road at the old Downingtown Farmer's Market. Carnivals have a reputation of being manned by transients. Often, carnivals would employ undocumented people or those with criminal records as well. Buck theory is that perhaps Suitcase Jane Doe was a worker at this carnival. Perhaps her killer was a carnie as well.
The details seem to fit this theory. Buck said the industrial Romex wire might have been used to string lights at a carnival. The trash bags were industrial grade as well— something you might find on hand at a carnival as well. Lastly, the torso was found in a garment bag and suitcase, both items a person leading a transient lifestyle might have on hand.
Then, get this... the carnival moved to Bucks County where the legs were eventually found.
Buck said by the time the police started to take his carnival theory seriously, they deemed it "too late" to investigate. What?! Well, I don't think it's too late. I'm going to track down this carnival.
Stay tuned for Episode 2 of Suitcase Jane Doe coming February 14.
Episode 3 will contain the full interview with Buck as well as accompanying documentary footage.