Orange Socks

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"Orange Socks"
Digital image created from study of morgue photographs to depict an estimation of the victim in life
Born approx. 1949–1964
Status Unidentified for 37 years, 7 months and 23 days
Died October 30 or 31, 1979 (aged 15–30)
Cause of death Strangulation
Body discovered Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas, United States
Other names "Joanie Doe", "Judy Doe", "Georgetown Jane Doe"
Known for Unidentified victim of homicide
Height Between 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
and 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)(approximate)
Weight Between 140 lb (64 kg)
and 160 lb (73 kg)(approximate)

Orange Socks (also known as Joanie Doe, Judy Doe and the Georgetown Jane Doe) is the informal name given to an American unidentified female who was murdered on October 31, 1979 in Georgetown, Texas. The body was found naked, except for the pair of orange socks from which her nickname was derived.[1][2] She had been strangled, and was believed to have died only hours before the discovery.[3][4][5][6] Henry Lee Lucas confessed to and was convicted of her murder, though doubts have been raised about his complicity in this crime.[7][8]

Evidence and physical description[edit]

Sketch of victim from the side

The victim, who was white and had been sexually assaulted, was found in a culvert on interstate 35, after being dragged to and thrown over a guardrail.[1][2][9] The cause of death was ruled as strangulation, as a large amount of bruising was visible on her neck. Other bruises were also visible, caused by the body having been dropped from the overpass.[9]

The victim's legs were unshaven with a large number of insect bites. She had very long toenails, her fingernails were painted and a hairline scar was observed beneath the chin. Despite her injuries, the victim had not broken a bone during her life.[3][5][6][9][8] She had reportedly suffered from salpingitis, due to previously contracting gonorrhea.[3][4] She had ten-inch-long brown hair with a reddish tint, hazel eyes, and her age ranged from 15 to 30 years. She was approximately five feet eight inches to five feet ten inches tall, and weighed between 140 and 160 pounds.[1][3][6] Two of her teeth were missing; the remainder were well-maintained, although they showed little sign of dental care, such as fillings or crowns.[1][10] A silver ring was found on her hand, containing an abalone or mother of pearl stone. Her ears were pierced.[3][8]

Also at the scene, a towel, likely used in place of a sanitary napkin, was found along with the body, as though the victim was attempting to control her menstruation without having to spend money on tampons.[3][9] One of two matchbooks found at the scene belonged to a hotel from Henryetta, Oklahoma, which supported the theory she was a hitchhiker or drifter.[2][9][10]

Confession by Henry Lee Lucas[edit]

Crime scene where the body was found.

In 1982, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to her murder, although there was no physical evidence that he had been involved in the killing, sexual assault or disposing of the body.[2][5][11] In an interview, he stated that he picked her up in Oklahoma, where they had sex.[12] He asked her for sex again while he was driving; he claimed that at this, Orange Socks said "not right now" and attempted to leave his car, at which point he killed her and raped her corpse. He then drove her body to Georgetown.[4][9][13][14] Lucas told authorities that the victim had stated her name as being "Joanie" or "Judy". He had previously showed officers how he had supposedly dragged her body over the guardrail when taken to the location where her body was found.[4][6][9][15]

One report claims that at the time of Orange Socks' murder, Lucas was working in Florida, whereas the murder took place in Texas.[7] Interrogators also stated that he had contradicted himself several times when confessing to the murder, and his defense also stated that he was shown images of the crime scene before his interview.[8][14] In order to have traveled to Oklahoma, to Texas and back to Florida, it was estimated that he would have had to drive at an average of seventy miles an hour, without stopping, which many find unlikely.[12][16] Lucas later recanted this statement after his conviction in 1984, and by involvement of the then state governor, George W. Bush, his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, as the death of Orange Socks was the only case that resulted in his receiving a capital punishment.[7] Lucas had a history of dubious confessons, something that led others to doubt his truthfulness (he confessed to upwards of 3,000 murders).[1][2][6][10][17] Lucas himself recanted his confessions, stating that the only murder he had committed was that of his mother, Viola.[11]

After learning that Lucas' sentence had been reduced, the mother of Suzanne Bowers told reporters that she was opposed to the decision along with several others, as Lucas had confessed to murdering the 12-year-old in 1984.[11][18]

Media appearances and further investigation[edit]

The "Orange Socks" case had been featured twice on America's Most Wanted since the murder took place. An anonymous woman called to the program on one occasion claiming she had seen Orange Socks hitchhiking the day of her murder, but the lead has not generated any new information.[19]

In 2001, a missing woman's photograph surfaced that resembled Orange Socks. DNA testing, however, did not match. Another report suggests that the victim was a woman who had disappeared in the 1970s, together with her abusive boyfriend.[6] Former missing person Martha Morrison was speculated by some to possibly have been the unidentified woman, but she was eventually ruled out.[20] Morrison's remains were identified in 2015 as a Jane Doe found in Washington the same year she disappeared.[21] Four other missing women, Nancy Jason, Kathleen Rodgers, Pinkie Davis-Herron and Susan Cooke, have also been excluded from the case.[20]

On the 37th anniversary of her discovery, new reconstructions of Orange Socks were released by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The organization also entered her into their database.[22]

Rule-outs[edit]

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, the following missing people have been ruled out as being Orange Socks.

Name Birth date Missing Date Age at time of murder Location Circumstances
Kathleen Rodgers May 10, 1956 March 3, 1973 23 Oroville, California A teenager who disappeared aged 15. She may have run away originally, but is believed to have been murdered.[23]
Sharon Pretorius April 23, 1960 September 28, 1973 19 Dayton, Ohio A teenager believed to have been abducted and subsequently murdered.[24]
Brenda Davidson March 8, 1960 March 4, 1974 19 Woodbridge, Virginia A teenager who is believed to have run away from home.[25]
Nancy Jason September 9, 1958 July 20, 1977 21 Chevy Chase, Maryland A woman who disappeared prior to a planned trip to Florida.[26]
Pinkie Davis-Herron January 31, 1956 January 1, 1974 23 Del Valle, Texas A woman who disappeared under unknown circumstances after an encounter with friends.[27]
Susan Cooke 1954 June 16, 1984 25 Cle Elum, Washington A woman who disappeared under unknown circumstances. She is thought to have disappeared five years after the discovery of Orange Socks.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "'Orange Socks' DPS seeks help in identifying Lucas' victim". The Facts. 19 June 1998. p. 9. Retrieved August 5, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ a b c d e "One-eyed drifter to die for 'orange socks' killing". AP Online. 31 March 1998. Retrieved 15 May 2014. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Case File: 33UFTX". Doenetwork.org. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Joanie Doe: I’m known for my orange socks.". 23 January 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Orange Socks tombstone simply reads: Unidentified Woman 1979.". 17 June 1998. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Vertuno, Jim (31 October 2004). "Identity of 'Orange Socks' remains a mystery". Associated Press. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Lucas Says He Won't Beg for Life". The Paris News. 25 June 1998. p. 13. Retrieved August 6, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ a b c d Lunsford, Lance (28 May 2006). "Drifter's confession to Williamson murder failed to hold up". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1979". The Paris News. 17 June 1998. p. 15. Retrieved August 6, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ a b c Austin, Nancy (1 November 2007). "Halloween: Anniversary of the Dead". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Verhovek, Sam Howe (8 January 1992). "Death-row Inmate May Not Deserve Penalty". Indiana Gazette. p. 4. Retrieved 11 October 2014 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ a b Husain, Michael. "Myth Of A Serial Killer: The Henry Lee Lucas Story." American Justice. Dir. Michael Husain. Prod. Bill Kurtis. A&E. 1997. Television.
  13. ^ "AG Probing Lucas Confessions". The Paris News. 15 April 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 11 October 2014 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  14. ^ a b Ramsland, Katherine. "Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar?". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Countdown to Execution: Death Date Set for Lucas". The Facts. 15 June 1998. Retrieved 18 July 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ Schechter, Harold (30 December 2003). The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers. New York City, New York: Ballantine Books. p. 64. ISBN 0345465660. 
  17. ^ "TEXAS SPARES LIFE OF SERIAL KILLER LUCAS ONLY MURDER EVIDENCE IN `ORANGE SOCKS' CASE IS RECANTED CONFESSION.". Rocky Mountain News. 27 June 1998. Retrieved 15 May 2014. (subscription required)
  18. ^ Gomez, Gina V. (25 June 1998). "Iles Mother Upset About Lucas Decision". Galveston Daily News. p. 13. Retrieved August 6, 2014 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  19. ^ "Orange Socks Jane Doe Murder - Texas - 1979". amwfans.com. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "NamUs UP # 8056". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Gillespie, Emily (13 July 2015). "Remains of homicide victim found near Vancouver identified after 41 years". The Columbian. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Jane Doe 1979". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  23. ^ Good, Meaghan (13 August 2013). "Kathleen Edna Rodgers". The Charley Project. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  24. ^ Good, Meaghan (25 February 2011). "Sharon Lynn Pretorius". The Charley Project. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  25. ^ Good, Meaghan (24 February 2016). "Brenda Sue Davidson". The Charley Project. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  26. ^ "Case File: Nancy Lynn Jason - 3142DFMD". The Doe Network. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  27. ^ "NamUs MP # 8810". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  28. ^ "NamUs MP # 23251". identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 

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