Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Walker County Jane Doe

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Name  Walker Jane

Resting place  Huntsville
A forensic facial reconstruction of Walker County Jane Doe

Status  Unidentified for 39 years, 2 months and 4 days
Cause of death  Homicide by ligature strangulation
Body discovered  November 1, 1980 30°46′12″N 95°38′24″W / 30.770025°N 95.6401154°W / 30.770025; -95.6401154Coordinates: 30°46′12″N 95°38′24″W / 30.770025°N 95.6401154°W / 30.770025; -95.6401154
Known for  Unidentified victim of homicide
Height  Between 5 ft 0 in (1.52 m) and 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Weight  Between 105 lb (48 kg) and 120 lb (54 kg)
Died  November 1, 1980, Harris County, Texas, United States
Similar  Arroyo Grande Jane Doe, Princess Doe, Racine County Jane Doe, Murder of Dana Dodd, St. Louis Jane Doe

Age Estimated   14 - 18

Race  White

JANE DOE | Walker County and "Orange Socks"


Walker County Jane Doe is an unidentified murder victim discovered on November 1, 1980, in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas. After the investigation of her murder and identity went cold, she was buried in a donated casket in Oakwood Cemetery in the same town where she was found. To this day, she has yet to be identified, even though her face has been reconstructed several times.

Contents

Walker county jane doe 1980 tragedy


Sightings

Multiple people, all of whom are now dead, reported seeing a teenage girl, matching the victim's description. These include the manager of the South End Gulf station and two employees at the Hitch 'n' Post truck stop, who described her as wearing jeans, a dirty yellow pullover, and a white knit sweater that had noticeably large pockets that went past her waist, carrying red sandals.

Walker County Jane Doe with bruises

The witness at the second location said the victim asked for directions to the Ellis Prison Farm, which is located about 14 miles (23 km) from where her body was later found. She was reportedly dropped off at the first location at around 6:30 PM by a man driving a blue 1973 or 1974 Chevrolet Caprice with a lighter-colored top. After getting directions, the girl left on foot.

Walker County Jane Doe

A waitress from the truck stop also believed that she had spoken to the victim. The girl had arrived at the location and requested directions to the prison, claiming a "friend" was there and the witness drew a map to the location. The waitress said that she suspected the girl was a possible runaway, and that she said she was from Rockport or Aransas Pass, Texas. The victim claimed to be 19 years old; when the waitress expressed doubts and asked if the victim's parents knew where she was, the girl replied, "Who cares?"

Discovery

Walker County Jane Doe portrait

The body of a girl, estimated to be between the ages of 14 and 20, was found lying face-down and nude by a passing driver on November 1, 1980, in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas on Interstate Highway 45. The motorist, who was a truck driver, called police at 9:20 AM at the location, where officers later arrived.

Map of Walker County Jane Doe crime scene

She was found “on the shoulder of I-45 north, a half mile south of FM 1696 exit, 2 miles north of Huntsville” (or 30.770025,-95.640115 is the exact location to look up the specific spot)

Walker County Jane Doe crime scene

The specific spot

The victim had been dead for around six hours, placing the time of death at about 3:00 AM; the cause of death was ligature strangulation with pantyhose, fragments of which had been lodged in the vaginal cavity, along with her underwear. The presence of the pantyhose and underwear that had been forced into the victim's body was likely done in order to prevent the body from bleeding while it was being transported. She had also been severely beaten, had a visible bite mark on her right shoulder, and had been sexually assaulted with a large blunt instrument in both lower body cavities. It is unknown if she had been raped, as there was no biological evidence at the scene. The beating that the girl had suffered was severe, as many bruises were noted across her body and her lips and right eyelids were swollen.

Walker County Jane Doe with bruises

She was between five feet and five feet five inches in height, and weighed between about 105 and 115 pounds. Her eyes were a hazel color and her hair was a light brown color, described to be having a reddish tint with about a ten-inch length. She had the distinct feature of a scar above her right eyebrow and her right nipple was inverted. No other features, such as birthmarks, were stated to be significant "markers" for identification.

She appeared to have been from a middle-class household, as she was at a healthy weight and her teeth had been well cared for and had evidence of dental work. Her ears were pierced, but contained no earrings at the time of discovery. Her toenails had been painted pink, but there was no polish on her fingernails.

High-heeled red leather sandals with light brown straps, which the girl seen alive was carrying, were recovered from the scene, but the rest of her clothing was missing. A rectangular brown pendant containing a smoky blue or brown glass stone on a thin gold chain necklace was found around her neck. The employees from both locations at which the girl was seen identified the body as the subject asking them for directions.

Investigation

Inmates, along with staff members, at the Ellis Prison Farm were shown photos of the victim, but none could identify her. At the time, no missing person reports could be matched to the victim as well. Police later searched through schools for possible identities of the girl but were unsuccessful in finding a suitable match. It is believed that the victim was from the region the subject seen alive had stated, which was the southeast part of the state, despite that nobody in the towns of Aransas Pass or Rockport identified the body. On January 16, 1981, the body was buried at Oakwood Cemetery, located in the town she was found, under a donated tombstone.

There is a possibility that she may have been killed by the same person as another unidentified victim, known as "Orange Socks", who was murdered exactly a year before and found in Georgetown, Texas. Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas has also been named as a possible suspect in this case. However, the bite marks on the girl's shoulder could not be matched to Lucas' dental charts. No prime suspects have been named, although police have considered the possibility that the victim was killed by a serial killer.

Some have theorized that the girl may have actually been murdered by a female. Journalist Michael Hargraves suggested such a theory, due to the fact that no semen was found and that the sexual assault was performed by forcing an object into the victim's body. He elaborated to say that most men who commit sexual-related crimes are known to bite the victims on sensitive areas instead of on the back, in this case. The common act of male murderers collecting souvenirs was also noted to be inconsistent with the case, as the necklace the girl had worn was still present on the body. However, the fact that most of her clothing was missing disproves this portion of the theory.

Many different forensic facial reconstructions were created to illustrate estimations of how the girl may have looked in life. In recent years, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has released two images, one in 2012 and another after the thirty-fifth anniversary of her death, by studying morgue photographs taken of the victim. Artist Karen T. Taylor created a sketch of the victim in 1990, incorporating an estimation of the girl's necklace and an investigator at the Walker County Sheriff's office also created a rendering. Taylor included the case in her book Forensic Art and Illustration, and wrote about having difficulties with creating her sketch, as the only frontal photograph made available to her at the time was of one taken after the victim had been treated at a funeral home, which had made adjustments to the face in order for it to be suitable to be viewed in an open-casket funeral. She also explained that a scaled photograph of the girl's necklace was not available, and she was forced to guess at its size for her rendering.

The remains were exhumed in 1999, in order to obtain more information of the victim's height and age, as well as a DNA sample. Further into the investigation, DNA testing, with undisclosed results, was performed on the sandals found with the body. Local police departments have also monitored other missing person reports for potential matches. Investigators have also reached out to the public through various news and television reports in hopes to generate leads, all of which, to date, have been unsuccessful in solving the case. In November 2015, the case was officially reopened by the sheriff's office.

2015 developments

On December 12, 2015, a photograph taken in 1980 surfaced of a 14-year-old white female, 5'4" in height, a possible runaway named "Cathleen" or "Kathleen" from Corpus Cristi, Texas. The photograph of Cathleen came from a collection of a brother and sister who were 12 and 10 at the time and who met her in a motel in Beeville, Texas in summer 1980. They recall she had lived with a couple, and wished to meet a friend from Sugarland Prison in the summer of 1980. They genuinely believe that "Cathleen" or "Kathleen" could be the victim and there is now a photo of her, with appeals to the public to help provide her full name. The Facebook page, "Who Was Walker County Jane Doe?," has the photo, details, and is asking the public for her full name, appealing primarily to anyone who attended elementary or middle school in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1960s and 1970s who recognize the name and photo. "Kathleen" most likely was born in 1966.

Rule-outs

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, the following missing people have been ruled out as being the Walker County Jane Doe.

Resting Place

Walker County Jane Doe's grave

References

Walker County Jane Doe Wikipedia