In 1993, police in Coolbaugh, Pennsylvania were baffled when teacher Joanne Chambers received multiple death threats and questionable packages. Chambers reported every incident to the police, who in turn found a resemblance in the letters to statements that a fellow teacher, Paula Nawrocki, had made.
However, the police were unable to find evidence directly linking Nawrocki to the threats. Regardless, Nawrocki was arrested and charged with harassment. Nawrocki's defense team sent the threatening letters and envelopes to be tested for DNA.
In 1993 told the police that she had started being sent a series of threatening poison pen letters from an unknown individual who was out to get her.
The letters continued arriving regularly and after ten months the FBI became involved and began investigating but no suspect was found. After receiving letters for a long time, things escalated when Joanne told the police that a car tried to run her off the road and she recognised the driver: a fellow teacher Paula Nawrocki.
So case closed then, Paula Nawrocki was the one who was sending the letters to Joanne? However Paula denied that she'd been sending the letters and hired both a lawyer and a private investigator. Paula's defense team wanted to DNA test the letters and the letters stamp was tested and didn't match with Paula Nawrocki's DNA.
The investigators then learned from the local police that Joanne had an extensive history of phoning 911 to report various threats and incidents including burglaries and fires. Investigators collected Joanne's DNA from her discarded trash and tested it against the stamp. The DNA was a match and suggested that she'd been sending these letters to herself all this time.
- Forensic Files: Sealed with a Kiss
- Casefile podcast: Case 189: JoAnne Chambers