HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania State Police are looking for information on an unsolved case, which involved the murder of U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau. He was discovered deceased along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Chester County about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
On Nov. 18, 1968, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, while on routine turnpike patrol, spotted a man in a seated position alongside the highway about a mile east of the Downingtown interchange. The trooper stopped to check on the man and found that he was deceased. An autopsy determined that the victim had been stabbed once through the heart. He carried no identification and was considered a John Doe. He remained unidentified for 44 years.
On July 29, 2009, in an effort to further the investigation, members of the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Assessment /Missing Persons Unit with assistance from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and Chester County Coroner’s Office, exhumed John Doe’s body. Bone samples were sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification where a DNA profile was obtained and entered into a national missing persons DNA database.
Suspecting the victim might have been in the military because of his physical description at the time and two tattoos; one being a bird in flight with a heart in the background, and the other being a bulldog wearing a World War I helmet with letters “USMC” printed below it, a request for assistance was sent to the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service Cold Case Unit and the U.S. Marine Corps Absentee Collection Unit.
On May 31, John Doe was positively identified by DNA as Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau, U.S. Marine Corps. Corriveau, just shy of his 21st birthday, was an active duty Marine who had been wounded in action on three separate occasions in Vietnam in 1967. At the time of his disappearance, Corriveau was a patient at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where he was receiving psychiatric treatment for a combat related condition. Corriveau was discovered missing by hospital personnel at approximately 7:50 a.m. Nov. 18, 1968, the same day he was found deceased.
Corriveau, originally from Lawrence, MA, was 20 years old at the time of his death. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in March of 1965. He served several tours in Vietnam, was injured in the line of duty and was awarded two purple hearts. He previously received psychiatric treatment for a combat related condition at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Chelsea, MA.
The Pennsylvania State Police are asking for the public’s assistance in recalling any details that could help to solve this case. This would include members of the U.S. Marine Corps or Navy who may have served with Corriveau and Naval personnel or patients who were present at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in October and November of 1968.
Individuals with information are asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 610-268-5158 or email RA-1968MarineDeath@pa.gov.
If you have information about this case or any serious crime or wanted person, call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-4PA-TIPS or visit their Web site at www.PACrimeStoppers.org. Tips made to Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers may be eligible for a cash reward.
Learn more about the Pennsylvania State Police online at www.psp.state.pa.us.