September 4, 2023 | By: Joseph Maudsley
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and the University of North Florida’s Applied Journalism class.
Stephen Hershey was a man of ambition who lived life to the fullest, with a lifelong love of automotives and trucks. The middle of three brothers, he was a father figure to his younger brother, Jim Hershey, who remembers him fondly and misses him dearly. “Losing him has devastated our whole family.”
A true entrepreneur, Hershey worked as a trucker while taking on the occasional odd job – some more odd than others, such as his attempt to collect ash from Mount St. Helen to make souvenirs. Though the souvenir hustle wasn’t as successful as he’d hoped, Hershey held his head high and continued pursuing his dreams with pride and tenacity, eventually laying plans to start his own trucking company.
Hershey seemed to have a bright future ahead of him, he was looking to start his own trucking company with a friend. Unfortunately, that time never came.
He was driving a truck long distance when he missed his intended time of arrival, which Jim knew meant something had gone wrong. He found his missing brother in the sleeping cab of his truck which had been parked at the Valley Forge Pennsylvania Turnpike Plaza, dead.
According to local police, both his truck and his shipment were untouched.
Over 40 years after Stephen Hershey’s murder, Jim Hershey grapples with the pain and uncertainty of losing his role model. “Losing my brother has affected my life in many ways.
“He was 26 and had dreams like most kids,” he said. “It was life changing. I lost a brother, a father figure, and a best friend. Time changes things but you always wonder and never get over it. He still comes up in conversation.” The first week of June, the family remembers Stephen by reminiscing and keeping in touch with each other.”
“I have no bad memories with him. He was tall, outgoing and had a lot of friends and people who respected him, says Jim.” Jim and his family have been in recent contact with Pennsylvania State Police and are awaiting any updates.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Stephen Hershey, please call the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau at 717-783-5524. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a reward, call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 4-PA-TIPS.
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