Dec 22, 2005

A Hopeless Case

I want to tell you of a project I’m working on; a murder from back when I was a high school sophomore buying Clearasil in bulk. 

I'm writing about this case at great risk to my reputation as an honest (mostly) blogger who writes the truth (usually) about police work.  You may, after reading this, cry “Bovine Scat,” and never read me again.  However, because I need something to keep all 3 of my loyal fans entertained, I will proceed. 

Last year I was going through some old homicide files when I came upon one that listed the victim as “Jane Doe.”  It piqued my interest, so I pulled it out and looked it over. 

1977; it is the summer of Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars. On the morning of July 25th, Officer W. was called to a dirt lot downtown; someone had found a decomposing body in the rear of a van there.  The body was that of a young woman; she had been in the van for at least two weeks, and all that could be determined was that she had been strangled and likely raped. There was nothing to identify her except for a small tattoo on the inside of her right thigh.  

The investigation began, and the problems started.  The clothing that she did have on was taken to the roof of the police station to dry.  A night janitor, following up on a complaint of bad smells in the building, found the clothing and threw them all away.  At the autopsy, the fingers were removed and prints were taken; x-rays of the jaw were made for possible identification, and the skull was de-fleshed and saved.  In the 27 years from that date, the finger print card has been misplaced, the jaw x-rays are gone, the fingers (which were saved in formaldehyde), are lost and I got no clue where the skull is.  In 1988, a property room supervisor took all the other evidence we had and ordered it destroyed to free up space in the property room.  

What a great case to work on!  No evidence, no name, no suspect, not even a dental x-ray.  Just a few faded photos of detectives in tight pants and lamb-chop sideburns.  We did exhume the body (which by now was a few bones and soup) and got a section of femur to send in for a DNA profile.  

The case was going nowhere until a couple of leads came in from some helpful detectives with the Felony Review Unit, formally known as The Green River Task Force.  Hopefully I will soon report that we at least know the name of this girl. 

18 comments:

ally123130585918 said...

I do hope after all this time you are able to identify this young lady....Surely she must be someons Daughter, wife, sister who would like to be able to bury her under he own name......I sit with abated breath waiting for the next episode...Ally

njmom72 said...

Aww, that poor lady. Please let us know if you find out who she was..blech at "bones and soup"! X-P

Another great entry!

Your fourth fan, (hehe)
~ Susan
http://njmom72.blogspot.com

mastersblynn said...

I think you have more than 3 fans.  I know I have added you to my alerts and I love hearing about true crime, I hate fake stuf.  You are very interesting and life must be a daily adventure.  Poor girl I hope you figure out who she was so that her family can have some closure. Barbara

mumma4evr said...

and maybe people have been looking for her all these years!  
Becky

symplyrobin74063 said...

Add another to your fan list!!  My dad was a law-enforcement lifer until he passed away in 2002.  He truly made a difference.  All I watch on television is the Law&Orders, especially SVU, CSIs (especially Miami), Cold Case, Forensics.  I should have followed in my dad's footsteps but it's too late now I guess.  Keep up the postings!!  And, I will pray that you find out what happened to Jane Doe.  There's not a lot to work with but with the technology out there, I KNOW you can find out more.  God be with you......

ladeeoftheworld said...

Funny how humans die and no one claims them.  
Your #3 fan!!

http://journals.aol.com/ladeeoftheworld/PossumsPrepareforBattle

bamawmn46 said...

I hope you can find out more about her... Keep us informed....  and you do have more than 3 fans!
Jackie

bgilmore725 said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS! You do have more than 3 fans as is evidenced by the comments.

dotcomdiva831 said...

LOL @ YOU BUYING CLEARASIL IN BULK...THAT WAS FUNNY...THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING ENTRY...I WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK...


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

~*Kisha*~

psychfun said...

What about any other types of similar crimes at the time? I know at that time they probably didn't have to sophisticated computer tracking (I was a teen then too...Jr.H.) but would there be anything in the computers today that was since entered or records of arrests from that time or after which fit the type of profile? I suppose if you get a name then that might head to interviews but then people could be dead, bad memory....did they do anything with the van? Any fingerprints or anything? Whose van was it? Hers? I take it no foot prints near van or anything? What was she strangled with? What kind of tatoo? Common or odd? God, how can you do this to me....too many questions! Good God doesn't speak well for the dept. at that time. Then again I was on a jury in grad school for a criminal sexual assault. They lost the rape kit, they took pix of the outside of the house, not inside where a struggle supposedly ocurrred...just a mess.

jevanslink said...

So when they make the movie who are they going to cast to play you? Russell Crowe?  Mrs. L

dragonrose3911 said...

I'd say u have more than 3 readers now...lol. I cant wait for you to keep us informed however on the story. :) But we know u will.... :D
Felicia
http://journals.aol.com/dragonrose3911/PIT/

blondepennierae said...

I don't really know what to say except ...  This story makes me very sad.  Surely she had someone somewhere that loved her and expected her to return.  Have they spent all these years wondering?  I hope you keep us posted if you get any positive feedback.  Pennie

http://journals.aol.com/blondepennierae/APenniesWorth

dawngepfer said...

GREEN RIVER????  Ugh! if it's what I'm thinking of...  that serial killer???  Can't remember his name - just saw a movie on it not so long ago on Biography.  So perhaps not all his victims were accounted for?  Oh, my!  So, I'm Fan #14 and definitely want you to keep us posted.  By the way, I think there is a book in this story...  pretty intriguing.
Dawnie (got a boring journal)
http://journals.aol.com/dawngepfer/endlesslaundrylistofthingsundone

zosche973 said...

It must have been that GREEN RIVER CREEP! I remember that story well.~Diane~

sunnyside46 said...

oh! I am dying to hear more!
Marti

lurkynat said...

God how sad...
nat

shayshaydc said...

Well I know if I needed someone to work on a case I would know who to contact!!! You must have a real caring heart!!! Let us know what you find out!! http://journals.aol.com/shayshaydc/Golfaholic
Sharon:)