Details of Disappearance
Bertha was last seen in Morgan City, Louisiana at 11:30 p.m. May 11, 1978. She and a friend, fifteen-year-old Judy Ann Adams, were walking home from the Central Catholic High School fair on the grounds of the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium. A witness saw both girls get into a white car driven by a strange man.
A photo of Judy is posted with this case summary. Her body was found in a septic tank in Bayou Vista, Louisiana two weeks later. A second body in the tank was identified as nineteen-year-old Bridget Cantrell Sons, who was abducted during a grocery store robbery in April 1978. Both teenagers had been bound and strangled. The body of Gordon M. Canella Jr., the seventeen-year-old boy who was abducted with Bridget, was found in a cane field. Bertha, however, has never been located.
Authorities believe Judy, Bridget, Gordon and Bertha were all victims of the serial killer Robert Carl Hohenberger, a former sheriff's deputy from California. He had abducted and raped four women in California, escaped from prison there and went to Louisiana, where he lived under an alias name.
A photo of Hohenberger is posted with this case summary. Investigators believe he used his police badge to lure victims to their deaths. He may have killed up to seven people over a three-month period before his death in June 1978. He took his own life when the police tried to arrest him.
Bertha lived in Yazoo City, Mississippi with her sister until early 1978, when she moved to Morgan City to live with her parents. She and Mary Leah Rodermund, who disappeared in March of that year, are the only presumed victims of Hohenberger who are still missing.