What Happened to Paula

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At the time of her death in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during the summer of 1970, eighteen-year-old Paula Oberbroeckling was a beautiful leggy blonde who dreamed of becoming a model. She disappeared in the early morning hours of July 11th, after she’d borrowed her roommate’s car to go off on an unspecified errand. She was barefoot and dressed in a sky-blue nightgown with matching panties. The next morning, the roommate’s car was found parked in a no parking zone near a grocery store, and Paula was gone. Four months later, a pair of young brothers who were on a hike along the railroad tracks down by the Cedar River came upon some human remains and homicide detectives were called in. While rumors flew, the ensuing police investigation brought no conclusive answer to what had happened to Paula. All these many years later, the case remains unsolved.

In 2012, Susan Taylor Chehak published a website (www.whathappenedtopaula.com) based on this cold case, in an effort to crowdsource an independent investigation by posting there the entire police file, autopsy, FBI reports and other documents, as well as news articles, photographs, and interviews with people who were related to or knew Paula.

This book is made up of all the material that is on the website, compiled in such a way that it tells the story of what happened to Paula in a more accessible, searchable format. It is a compilation of raw data, for you to explore and come to your own conclusions, as if you were investigating the case yourself.

To help discover the truth about what happened to Paula, you are invited to join this collaborative investigation by visiting the website, signing up for a newsletter for ongoing updates, and liking the Facebook page, where readers share information and insights into the case.

If no one is guilty, then everyone’s to blame.


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