Unsolved Murder: South Jersey Prison Guard Beaten to Death
New Jersey State Corrections Officer Donald Hiles is being remembered this week during National Police Week.
His death happened while Hiles, 52, was on duty at the minimum security Leesburg Prison Farm in Leesburg, Cumberland County. The prison in Maurice River township was later renamed Bayside State Prison.
The minimum security section of the prison is known as “the farm,” where prisoners work on a dairy.
Donald Hiles' murder in 1968 must have been shocking and extremely violent, but, looking back, the details of his death and its investigation are extremely sketchy. The murder was never solved.
This brief description of the murder comes from the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office.
On March 8, 1968, Corrections Officer Donald Hiles was attacked and beaten to death with a push broom at the minimum security Leesburg Prison Farm.His body was found lying on a path between the milking barn and dairy office. He had been severely beaten upon the head and face. The subject who beat him was never identified and his murder remains unsolved.
Officer Hiles had served with the New Jersey Department of Corrections for 21 years. He was survived by his wife and two children.
An attempt to find anything else concerning Donald Hiles' murder or the investigation of it drew a complete blank.
There is no reporting of the crime that has been saved online and no explanation for how such a brutal murder of a guard in a prison could have happened without some recounting of the events surrounding it.
Certainly, there would have been an investigation with interviews of the other prisoners and guards.
There must have been some community outrage that such a thing could have happened, and, a grieving family with children who would probably be still alive today to bring this case back into the public consciousness.
No. None of that seems to be the case. Information about other murders and high-profile crimes from this period of time is much more readily available.
There's almost no record of the murder except the brief description you just read and the annual remembrance on March 8th of Hiles' service and death while on duty.
However, I did find one thing.
Buried in comments of a Facebook post remembering the 50th anniversary of Donald Hire's murder in 2018, is this post. I assume it is from Hiles' son.
Richard Hiles from Bakersville, PA.
A lot of years went by before his sacrifice was officially recognized. My family thanks all of you.
No, sir, we apologize and thank you for your father's service.