So who killed Betsy Aardsma?

Betsy was just 22 years old when she was stabbed in a college library – the case was never officially solved, even though a suspect was strongly implicated. Betsy was from the Michigan town of Holland. After high school, she attended the University of Michigan and then on to Penn State University.

According to, It was in November 1969 while Betsy was at Penn State. She spent Thanksgiving with her boyfriend David Wright, who lived just a couple of hours away in Hershey. She had a project on her mind that she was anxious to get back to and instead of spending the night in Hershey, she chose to go back to the school instead. David drove her back that night.

On Friday, November 28, Betsy and her roommate, Sharon, headed over to the library. She had a meeting with a professor at 4pm and then headed up to the library’s third floor to do some research. Then on down to floor #2.

One of the witnesses was a man who was using a copy machine, when he overheard a man and woman conversing in a normal manner. This was followed by a couple of sounds: something metal hitting the floor and books falling off shelves. Betsy had been in Aisle 51, and a man came running out of that aisle and passed by the man at the copier. Startled, the running man shouted at the other, “there’s a girl back there that needs help!” and took off. Another library attendee tried to run after the man but to no avail.

Everyone at the library thought Betsy had just passed out but when paramedics arrived, they learned differently. Betsy was dead. What is unusual about this murder, is that she was stabbed just once. Usually in knife murders, there are multiple stabbings…but this only had one in her left breast. What happened afterward was complete irresponsibility. Since the library employees thought Betsy had just fainted, they went to the aisle, put the books back on the shelves, cleaned up the blood, mopped the floor, didn’t cordon off the area, and let other students walk in and out of the aisle, leaving more and more fingerprints, making it impossible for authorities to do a thorough investigation.

How did witnesses describe the possible suspect?
Plaid shirt
Sport jacket
Brown hair
Six foot
185 pounds

Here’s where it gets even more twisted.
In the aisle where Betsy was stabbed, porn mags were found stuffed into shelves. A black light was brought in to look for fluids and sure enough - the aisle was littered with semen. They also found spatters of blood near a stairway, that appeared as if someone was trying to flick it off their fingers. Lab tests proved the blood to be Betsy’s.

The culprit is believed – but not proven - to have been college professor Richard Haefner, a man known for having a hot temper and short fuse.

Haefner dated Betsy for awhile and was seen as a brilliant geologist, with a PhD, BS, and MS. In 1975, six years after Betsy's murder, he was employed at the University of California, and arrested for alleged pedophilia. The scandal prevented him from ever teaching again. He died in 2002 in Las Vegas from a ripped aorta.

Betsy is buried in Pilgrim Home Cemetery in Holland, Michigan.

The case remains unsolved.

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