Sumter County Does
The Sumter County Does, also known as Jock Doe and Jane Doe, were two unidentified homicide victims found in Sumter County, South Carolina, on August 9, 1976. They had apparently traveled through various places in the United States before being killed in South Carolina. This was inferred from some of their belongings.
Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore continued to work on the case until her retirement in 2009. The case remains unsolved. Neither of the victims' identities has been discovered, despite the fact that their descriptions, sketches of their faces, dental information, and fingerprints have been distributed across the United States.
Authorities have decided to halt the investigation until the victims' identities could be discovered.
The male victim had been referred to as "Jock", which may have originated from the French name "Jacques," indication he may have been from French Canada. A man who claimed he had met the victims stated that he was told by the male victim that he had left his Canadian family with his girlfriend. The male victim had furthermore stated that his father was a well known doctor; this supported the theory that his family was wealthy.
Discovery of the bodies
In the early morning hours of August 9, 1976, the young man and woman were said to have been seen from a distance by a hermit. It was said they had been dropped off on Locklair Road, a secluded dirt road between I-95 and S.C. 341 (Lynches River Road).
At 6:20 a.m., a trucker named Martin Durant found the bodies and contacted Charles Graham, an employee at a nearby store. Graham, in turn, contacted the authorities.
Mortuary photograph of male victim
|Status||Unidentified for 42 years, 9 months and 13 days|
|Died||August 9, 1976 (aged 18-30)|
|Cause of death||Homicide by firearm|
|Known for||Unidentified victim of homicide|
|Height||6 ft 1.25 in (1.86 m)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg) (approximate)|
The male victim was at first believed to be between 18 and 22 years of age, but his dentition suggested that he may have been older than 27. The age range was updated to be between 18 and 30 years after his case was entered into NamUs.
The forensic dentist who examined the man's teeth said he believed he was over 27, but that he had looked younger due to his clothing and build. The victim was white with an olive complexion. He had brown, shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, and very distinctive bushy eyebrows. He stood over 6 feet tall, weighed about 150 pounds, and had had extensive, elaborate, dental work that may have been performed outside the United States. This might indicate a higher socioeconomic status.
A unique type of root canal surgery had been performed during the man's life, which could be important for discovering who he was. It looked as if he had been midway through a complete dental restoration. The man had a four-inch appendectomy scar. He also had various scars on his back and shoulders, which indicated frequent participation in contact sports.
He was wearing faded Levi brand jeans and a red T-shirt. The shirt read "Coors — America's Light Beer" on the front and "Camel Challenger GT Sebring '75" on the back, along with a Snoopy design. The shirt was apparently a promotional item from the Sebring Races held in Sebring, Florida, in 1975, which were sponsored by the Coors Brewing Company. He wore no underwear and carried a pack of "Grant's Truck Stop" matches in a pants pocket. The matches are believed to have come from a Grant's Truck Stop in the Midwest.
He wore a yellow gold Bulova Accutron wristwatch with a Twist-o-Flex band, bearing the serial number H918803. Using this number, investigators were able to determine that Bulova had made the watch in 1968. But when the Bulova company downsized in the early 1970s, they destroyed many of their records, meaning that there was no way to ascertain where the victim's watch was distributed or bought. He also wore a 14-karat gold ring set with a gray star sapphire stone. The initials JPF were engraved inside the ring, which had a Florentine finish. Both the ring and the watch were rather expensive. This, together with the man's elaborate dental work, suggested that he had come from an affluent family.
The female victim was slightly younger than the man. She was originally thought to be between 18 and 20 years old. After her case was entered into NamUs, her age estimate was increased to 18 to 25 years. She stood 5' 5" tall, weighed 100 to 105 pounds, and had a slim build and an olive complexion like that of her companion. This led some observers to speculate that they may have been siblings.
The coroner noted that the young woman had unusually long, natural eyelashes and that both victims were very clean and well-groomed. She had fillings in all of her back teeth, and her front teeth would have appeared straight and even if she were to smile. She had no surgical scars, had never been pregnant, and her legs had not been shaved. Unlike her male companion, no scars were found on her body.
She was wearing an unbleached white muslin blouse over a pink, front-tying halter top. She wore blue denim cut-off shorts (Daisy Dukes). She had a floral print scarf tied around her waist as a belt.
She wore three very distinctive rings.
- The first ring was a black, oblong stone with what appeared to be small turquoise chips embedded in it.
- The second had an ornate scrolling feather shape with coral and turquoise stones.
- The third was a simple metal band with red, white, and blue stones.
These rings appeared to be authentic handmade Native American or Mexican costume jewelry. They were all made of sterling silver. They appeared to have originated in the Southwestern United States.
Leads and theories
In 1977, a man was arrested in Latta, South Carolina for driving while intoxicated. He owned a revolver (found in his vehicle) of the same kind as the murder weapon. It was proven to be the murder weapon after it was test-fired by investigators. The man was located but was not charged because insufficient evidence existed to file charges against this individual with the murders.
Investigators traveled to the city of Brunswick, Georgia. They met with a mother and father who were thought to be possible acquaintances of the Jane Doe. Their daughter was missing and her ex-boyfriend had reported a similarity between the female victim and his ex-girlfriend. However, after showing the parents of the missing woman photographs of the female victim, neither they nor her friends could verify that it was her. After a dental comparison, it was found that the two women did not match.
The possible initials JPF, engraved inside the man's ring, supported the theory that his name was Jacques or at least started with a J.
The book of matches found in the man's pocket provided a further clue. The matches came from a truck stop chain which had locations in Idaho, Nebraska, and Arizona. After information was released to the public, a man from Nebraska stated that he may have performed repairs on a car with Oregon or Washington license plates, whose owners matched the description of the victims. But this uncovered no additional leads.
Some speculate that notable serial killer Henry Lee Lucas could have been involved in the murders. Lucas himself told police that he had been in South Carolina the day that the victims died, but he was received with scepticism as he had a penchant for false confessions. He was never charged with the crime and died in 2001 due to heart failure. Earlier, Lucas had confessed to two murders that also happened in Sumter County; that of an elderly woman in 1975 and of a young man in 1983. Like most other leads, this revealed no additional clues to the pair's names or their actual murderer.
In 2007, both bodies were exhumed to obtain DNA information. This led to the theory that the pair had been siblings being disproved; the testing showed that they were not genetically related, though they did resemble each other.
The couple's bodies were kept at a local funeral home in caskets with airtight, see-through lids in hopes that someone would identify them. People from all over the country called to inquire about them, including several parents of young runaways. None was able to identify the bodies.
The bodies remained on display until they began to deteriorate. On August 14, 1977, one year and five days after the bodies were found, they were interred in Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Oswego, South Carolina. Hundreds attended the funeral service. Law enforcement agencies raised several hundred dollars to pay the funeral home.
Their graves have stone/granite markers which read "Male Unknown" and "Female Unknown."
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- Lucas-Parker, Sharyn (12 August 2001). "The Mystery Couple". Crime Library. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Sumter County murder victims laid to rest". Greenwood, South Carolina. The Index Journal. 15 August 1977. p. 1. Retrieved 19 August 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Couple's burial finally coming after a year". The Index-Journal. 11 August 1977. Retrieved 19 August 2014 – via Newspapers.com.
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