Bobbi Jo Matthew

I stumbled on a particularly gruesome case while doing some research for something else. This is literally the worst crime I’ve ever read or heard of in my entire life – so unbelievable, so evil that I feel sick even writing this down. I will copy and paste from the official appellate record. Those with children are advised to skip the blockquoted text.

In October of 1988, appellant raped and murdered the two-year-old child victim in a particularly gruesome fashion. Appellant scalped the child by cutting with a sharp knife from one of her ears across her front hair line to her other ear and peeling back her scalp to the nape of her neck, thereby exposing her skull. Appellant also inflicted blunt force trauma to the child’s chest and stomach which was sufficient to tear her liver and lungs. That force may also have been the cause of two feet of the child’s intestines protruding from her genital area, but it is also possible that appellant [*2] simply pulled the girl’s intestines out of her body through her genital area. Appellant ripped the child’s genital area to such an extent that there was one large bloody cavity in the area of her vaginal and anal orifices. Appellant burned the child’s body, inflicted numerous lacerations, and fractured her skull. All of these injuries occurred while this child was still alive. Appellant then took the child to an isolated area of a state forest in Cambria County where he hid her corpse. Appellant confessed his acts to the police, and drew a map for them which led to the discovery of the child’s decayed body.

Though the defendant, Stephen Rex Edmiston, confessed in 1988, he recanted, appealed and in 2009 asked asked for new DNA testing on a pair of the baby’s shorts that were found in his truck. His petition is actually getting some support. The Innocence Project is willing to pay for the DNA testing. However, prosecutors are opposed [quoted from the newspaper article linked above]:

[Prosecutor] Peterson questioned why Edmiston has waited so long to seek the DNA testing. She noted that Dunham has represented the defendant since 1996 and that the state’s law allowing post-conviction DNA testing went into effect in 2002. The defense motion was not filed until 2008, she said.

The state prosecutor said that Edmiston waived his right to seek DNA testing immediately after the trial before post-trial motions were first filed by the defense.

“He can’t come back 20 years later and ask for it. That’s contrary to our (criminal justice) system’s interest in finality and justice,” she said.

In addition, Peterson wondered why the defense was not seeking DNA testing on other blood samples, including blood found on a T-shirt and blue jeans found at Edmiston’s home.

I bolded the most intriguing line because it is causing me the most headache. I haven’t read the entire court transcript, but I believe the man is guilty. I believe that based on the fact that the baby’s bloody shorts were in his truck and he drew a map to where police would find the body (he later claimed that he and the police were having a friendly chat the night of his interrogation, and he drew the map to show them where there was some good fishin’). He also confessed but I’m willing to throw that out in an effort to be extremely fair, knowing that prosecutors can get confessions and plea deals out of the most innocent people.

However, that said, I disagree with the prosecutor’s statement that justice has an expiration date. If the man is innocent (and I’ll eat my hat if he is), every day he remains behind bars is a travesty and an atrocity. For that reason, DNA evidence should be used to the absolute maximum in every case when it could conceivably add to the body of knowledge about a case. Edmiston should get his DNA test, and then I think he should get raped, scalped, and disemboweled in the prison showers. He absolutely should die with a dick in his mouth, too. But first he should have that DNA test. There is no reason to withhold it, especially if the Innocence Project is funding it.

Knowing what I know about prosecutors, it is very difficult to look at any prosecution as completely clean. They lie, manipulate and act like douchebags just as much as the slimiest defense attorney. However, they have the sanction of the state and that is what makes them scary. The prosecution should be forced to jump through a million hoops to get its conviction. Even grotesque lives like Edmiston should be permitted to seek justice via DNA testing, no matter how much time has passed and no matter how close he is to getting a needle in his arm.

The defendant’s most recent appeal, filed in 2010, asserts that he did not get a fair trial because “new evidence” has been revealed. The “new evidence” is autopsy pictures, the same pictures that were taken in 1988. His new theory is that the baby was not raped and murdered, she was killed in a motor vehicle accident. (That still doesn’t explain the kidnapping or the fact that her bloody shorts were found in his truck.) The new trial will be denied, as it should be. That’s a desperate last-ditch effort to save his own worthless neck. But before he is put to death, I’d like to know for sure, through DNA evidence, that the state is killing the right person.

Bobbi Jo Matthew had a very short, miserable life. She was raised by her grandmother (I have not been able to find out what happened to her mother or father). The night she was kidnapped, there were several people in the house who witnessed Edmiston take the baby from her crib and walk out with her – and unbelievably, nobody said anything. My guess – based on nothing but common sense – tells me the grandmother and her friends were doing drugs. Why else would they not say anything? Why else would it be unremarkable that a strange man would walk into your house, walk into your baby’s room, and take your child?

A few years after Bobbi Jo Matthew was raped, scalped, disemboweled, burned, hit and murdered, her grandmother died. There is nobody left to mourn Bobbi Jo Matthew. Her murder has seared me to the core, and I pray that one day the prosecutors in Pennsylvania will find real justice for her.

Cara Ellison


  1. i agree with u 100% that DNA testing should be done. I know the Edmiston family and the 2 families do know each other, from what I was told. His mother June told me that Stephen and his brother George (aka Mick) was in an argument that night and that stephen drove to her house on water street and ran out of gas before he made it there. She said he slept in his truck all night. She also told me that stephen and Bobbi Jo’s mom, or grandmother (i’m not sure who) would go swimming and thats how the shorts were in his truck, that she was hurt and he tried to help or something. I’m not absolutely sure about it though. I heard it so many times that i stopped listening to her, and unfortunately now June passed away so i can’t ask her. I hope that this case can be resolved and that everyone is sure he is guilty or innocent for the sake of his children and so justice can be served for Bobbi Jo Matthews.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Connie. It is a heartbreaking case.

    You say you know the families. Did June believe her son was guilty?

  3. I know the Edmiston family, June did NOT believe he was guilty. She swore he didn’t do it, that he was in his truck out of gas all night long, sleeping off being drunk. This is such a horrendous crime. I can’t believe anyone would do this to her. The poor little girl. I was actually engaged to Stephen’s son. So I know the edmiston family very well. I just wish we’d know for sure if he did do it. It’s very hard for his son and daughter to handle, they don’t know what to think.

  4. Goodness. That is horrible. I believe he’s 100% guilty. However, to know for sure, I would like him to have the DNA test.

    I’ve heard that he’s now claiming that Bobbi Jo’s injuries were the result of an automobile accident but that seems just impossible for me.

    Are Edmiston’s children still in touch with him?

    Also – a point I’m confused about that you might know. How did he know the family? Were drugs involved? And do you know what happened to Bobbi Jo’s parents? In all the court documents, she’s described as living with her grandparents so I’m curious where her parents were.

    It truly is horrible. It’s the worst crime I’ve ever heard of – and I’m sort of interested in true crime so I read a lot of it. Just awful.

  5. I’ve heard the car accident thing, and i’ve heard about a satanic cult thing. I really dont know anything about how he knew them or if there were drugs involved. As for them still being in touch with him, i think his daughter still talks with him, his son doesn’t talk with him very often. if June was still alive i would’ve been able to answer your questions. She was very adament that it wasn’t him, that she checked on him off and on all night and he was drunk sleeping in his truck, which was out of gas. She said he was framed.

  6. Oh please this super freak was questioned by police and he was given a map to direct LE where the child’s body could be found. “June” raised a pathetic poor excuse for a human being that can be likened with Satan himself. June can say anything she wants, Sounds as if “Connie” wants to impart doubt for no other reason than she was actually going to marry into this freak show and needs to validate her reasoning. LE should have taken this man out while they had an opening, May his soul rot in hell and his name be taken from history.

  7. Actually June didn’t raise him. Her sister Shirley raised him. I wasn’t trying to impart doubt, I was just telling her what I’ve heard over the yrs. Why are you calling the rest of the family a freak show? That comment really upsets me. His son and daughter have nothing to do with what he did nor do the rest of the family so they are in NO way “freak shows.” I was NOT validating my reasoning I was telling her how I knew the family, by saying that I was once engaged to his SON!

  8. I don’t know who you are that is writing all of this but I will tell you who I am. I am Bobbi jo’s mother and all that you have written is mostly lies why would you write that there is no one left to mourn her. If you really want some truth you can contact me.

  9. If any of you really care to contact me I live in Pittsburgh pa now and I have a Facebook you can contact me through. Just write my name in the search on Facebook. And you will know where and why I wasn’t around when my daughter was killed. Thank you Sheri matthew

  10. Hi Sheri,

    Thanks for your comments. I tried to email you but it bounced. I tried to find you on FB but couldn’t. I would like to talk to you though so please email me at blog.caraellison at gmail.


  11. In 1988, I was a student in Juniata Valley High School of Alexandria, PA. More than twenty years later, I remember this horrific crime like it was yesterday. I can not recall a single staff member or student that did not show obvious sorrow; or some level of pain; the day we all learned of the senseless loss. In neighboring small towns that celebrate holidays like Hartslog Day, you should know that a devastation such as this cuts everyone to the core. Those who personally knew her, loved her. Those loved by her, were stripped of a precious gift. Those of us who only learned of this dear child through her death, were robbed of the opportunity to see her sweet smile; or to hear God’s grace in her laughter. Bobbi jo will be missed by many, but mourned by all. As for her killer, I believe that these two feeble attempts to prolong the inevitable, are simply desperate human nature. With death being an impending doom, rather than a natural movement in the circle of life, I am certain that he knows deep within himself that he will soon have no choice but to answer to a Higher Judge, Jury & Executioner. May we all remember that the sins of the father should not be the child’s debt to pay……his family needs to be able to heal as well. Stephen Edmiston has not only destroyed the lives of Bobbi jo’s family and other loved ones. He has destroyed the lives of his own. (n.s.)

  12. Hi Nikki, thank you for your comment. It was a truly horrific crime – literally the worst I have ever heard in my life. My heart breaks for those who knew the little girl.

  13. i am family this is my uncle and i belive 100% he is innocent thank yo connie so glad you are part of the family it is sad that my uncle had this pinned on him because the bitch who really did it wouldnt step up and we all know who that woman is

  14. my uncle was a drunk and a drugie this is know to all that knew him but he wouldnt harm anyone all i can say about who killed her is its to late for her to confess and i wont run a dead persons name threw the mud….my uncle wasnt even looked at intill my great uncle brought up the molastion charges which were also false his ex wife was bribing her kids to testify but kids slip up and he wasnt charged and as for him “drawing” a map that is compleat bs there family were know for drugs the person who killed her had their mffler tied up with a coat hanger ans backed over the poor girl that how she was “scalped” that is also how there was so much damage to her inners and lastly she wasnt raped that was discoverd in the last hearing

  15. and for the lady that called us freaks well im sorry you feel that way but we dont blame sandusys family for what he did so why blame me and my family for what my uncle was accused of doing

  16. and as for the woman saying my gram raised a poor excuse of son my grandmother was a great woman may she rest in peace

  17. There were so many rumors that went around at the time of this horrible, disgusting crime. Bobbi Jo’s father is my cousin. And 2 things are undisputeable: that a beautiful, innocent child was tragically taken before her life had really begun. And that it never should have happened, & could have been prevented somehow. She was an innocent child who should have been protected. Now, she’s in heaven with her grandfather, Harold, who also died young & tragically. Let it be a lesson to all parents; be careful who you trust around your precious children, people can be evil, even towards the young & innocent.

  18. all you are aware of is what you have been led to belive by other in your family Victoria. you werent even born until 8 years after this horrific crime. So dont act like you have the slightest clue as to what the truth is.

  19. Does anyone know if the DNA testing was ever done to help put some closure to this. Many actually believe there was more than just one person involved in this horrific crime.

  20. and as for June Patterson(Stepehen’s mother)…she was as worthless as an individual could be. even though she has passed on, she ruined many lives including my Grandfather’s (Bob Patterson) and my uncles lives as well. There was absolutely nothing that ever came out of that lady’s mouth that wasnt full of lies and excuses.

  21. I know the family.. I have heard so many variations of the story. however history does seem to repeat itsself with this family.

  22. I am Stephen Edmimistons X-WIFE and none of my children have any contact with there child molesting father. If you want to ask any questions I have a facebook. Tammy Baggett. Victoria has no clue what she is talking about. She was not born and did not go through the hell me and my kids did.

  23. Victoria HOW DARE YOU!!!! My mother never bribed us about being molested. My sister joy was the only one who went to court against my father and lost not because she was wrong but because of other reasons. Stephen and I didn’t go to court because we were too young. PA has a law that you can have till your fifty to take your accuser to court and have them tried. If I wanted to I could take my father to court but that part of my anger in my life is in the past. Victoria the only reason your on this site is because you think your special and want attention. It wasn’t a woman who murdered that poor child it was a man and because of the innocents project lawyers who took over my dad’s case I can’t say who they accuse of doing it. As for Bobbi Jo Matthews murder Victoria you only know what grandma June and mick told you which is their own accounts of the story. The only people who know what actually happen to her is the person who killed that poor child, that child, and GOD that’s it. Was it my father, I have no idea I’m not him, I wasn’t with him that night. My personal opinion on it, no I don’t think it was him because he couldn’t handle the sight of blood. As for me being called a freak, that is just your opinion. How can you judge me for something my father was accused of doing? What’s depressing is that I have been Judged my whole life because of what my father was accused of, and if it makes you feel better to call me names then fine. I am so used to it that it doesn’t bother my anymore, but how would you feel if the roles were reversed.

    • You are really a sad case Victoria. When you want to talk about druuggies and alcholics look around you. I have never denied that I was on drugs and for that I am paying for now with my bad health. I pray your karma comes back on you, and you can talk all you want to about me and my children if that is what you feel you need to do to make yourself feel better and be such a grown up.

  24. I just seen that courts threw out DNA requests. He is going to die. I certainly can say I’m a little relieved. However he left his legacy of mental illness an twistedness in his children…. or perhaps his x wife left it. Either way stay away from that freaky family. Its been said that Stevens daughter lied an covered for who really molested her children. They are a sick sad bunch. Hopefully this is over soon. May Bobbi Jo Mathews get the justice that she deserves!!! And may that whole family rot in hell if they knew something and did not come forward.

  25. hi i am the sister of bobbi jo matthew and i never got the oppertunity to get to meet my sister thanks to this monster . i was born august 22 89 i may not have met my sister but i can say what edmiston has done has affected every asspect of my life i never thought there was such cruel people in this world how could someone do this to a lil girl GOD she was 2 years old what pleasure can u get out of that its sick and twisted and i may not know every detail of the case WHICH IF SOMEONE COULD HELP ME GET INFORMATION WOULD BE GRATLY APPTICIATED .. i cant wait till the day my sister gets her justice and edmistons in the ground i just wish i could have had the opperyunety to meet my sister but this sick monster stopped me

  26. How dare you say that her family was on  drugs! Have you spoken personally to any of them or are you just going off what you’ve read and found online! Bobbi Jo DOES have family to mourn her and miss her AND to be hurt by the unnecessary and distasteful accusations that you’re making here! She is MY sister, she has many other siblings, aunt’s, cousins and a mother who all think about her ever day. Next time, do you’re research a bit better before you go slandering a grieving family!

  27. One u all disgust me!!! This little Angel died a horrible death!! And if it is the mother actually commenting on here where the hell were u!!! And ur on here proving how much of an idiot u truly are!! There in fact is no one left to mourn this Angel except those of us who come across her story!! Enough said!! And don’t bother coming back at me I have nothing to say to garbage!! I am a grandparent raising & would protect my babies with my life!!!

  28. Hello y’all. Your Dad, Uncle, Brother, etc is back in the news again and I stumbled across this blog which is super interesting to say the VERY least. I’ll stalk your FB profiles soon as you all give permission to so… BUT I wondered if anyone has a picture of Bobbi Jo??

    My opinion is that Stephen is indeed guilty but I’d still like to see the DNA tests done. BTW y’all are more then welcomed to contact me via FB.

  29. I am bobbie jo Matthews sister I was 5 years old when my little sister was killed by that man even though his family cant be blamed 4 what he did to my sister and I don’t judge them by what he did the pain of what happened back in 1988 to my baby sister will never go away 4 me our mother n her other brothers and sister n her aunts and her uncle and the familys friend n the wonderful people in all of our lives people say that there is no one left to mourn her death well she has siblings and our mother our aunts and uncles have been mourning her death since it happened I personally think that what that man did to my little sister a precious little baby was something that only the devil himself would do just imagine what our mother had to go through knowing that her precious daughter was gone forever she may not have been there when it happened but that was her little baby and that man took her away from us for no reason what could she have possibly done to deserve what that man did to her she was only 2 years old maybe he needs to get his intestines ripped out of his body maybe the inmates should be allowed to stick a broom handle up his rear and scalped just like he did to my little baby sister we don’t take it out on that mans family cuz it aint their fault I love my family with my whole heart and I would give my life to have her back in my life

  30. Obviously the “freak show” comment was on target after reading this extended family interact with each other.

  31. just love how people keep saying that bobbie aint got anybody to mourn her death u have to be kidding me im her older sister I was just 5 when she was killed and yes she does have people who are mourning her death she has many siblings and our mother sooo please for the sake of bobbie please saying that there is no one left to mourn her death

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