Walker County Jane Doe

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Walker County Jane Doe
Digital image created from study of morgue photographs to depict an estimation of the victim in life
Most recent reconstruction of the victim by the NCMEC
Born 1960 - 1966 (approximate)
Status Unidentified for 36 years, 9 months and 21 days
Died November 1, 1980 (aged 14 - 20) (approximate)
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
Resting place Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville, Walker County, Texas, United States
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)
Website Walker County Jane Doe on Facebook

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.[1] To this day, she has yet to be identified, even though her face has been reconstructed several times.[2][3][4]


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.[2][5]

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.[1][6][7] 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.[8][9] After getting directions, the girl left on foot.[1]

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.[9] 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?"[7][10][11]


Profile sketch of the victim

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.[3][12][13] The motorist, who was a truck driver, called police at 9:20 AM at the location, where officers later arrived.[2]

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.[9] 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.[9] 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.[2][4][8][9] It is unknown if she had been raped, as there was no biological evidence at the scene.[1] 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.[9]

She was between five feet and five feet five inches in height, and weighed between about 105 and 115 pounds.[1] 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.[3][13] She had the distinct feature of a scar above her right eyebrow and her right nipple was inverted.[1][4] No other features, such as birthmarks, were stated to be significant "markers" for identification.[9][14]

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.[9][15] Her ears were pierced, but contained no earrings at the time of discovery.[2] Her toenails had been painted pink, but there was no polish on her fingernails.[1]

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.[1] A rectangular brown pendant containing a smoky blue or brown glass stone on a thin gold chain necklace was found around her neck.[6][13] The employees from both locations at which the girl was seen identified the body as the subject asking them for directions.[4]


Additional reconstruction

Inmates, along with staff members, at the Ellis Prison Farm were shown photos of the victim, but none could identify her.[1][2] At the time, no missing person reports could be matched to the victim as well.[4] Police later searched through schools for possible identities of the girl but were unsuccessful in finding a suitable match.[6] 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.[2] On January 16, 1981, the body was buried at Oakwood Cemetery, located in the town she was found, under a donated tombstone.[1]

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.[1][8] However, the bite marks on the girl's shoulder could not be matched to Lucas' dental charts.[16] No prime suspects have been named, although police have considered the possibility that the victim was killed by a serial killer.[3][5]

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.[9] However, the fact that most of her clothing was missing disproves this portion of the theory.[1]

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.[3] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[1][19] 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.[3] 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.[4] In November 2015, the case was officially reopened by the sheriff's office.[5]

2015 developments[edit]

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.[20]


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

Name Birth date Missing Date Age at time of murder Location Circumstances
Joyce Brewer January 24, 1955 September 6, 1970 25 Grand Prairie, Texas Left home after arguing with her parents. It is believed she had run away from home with a boyfriend.[21]
Mary "Rachel" Trlica (Arnold) November 15, 1957 December 23, 1974 22 Fort Worth, Texas Apparently abducted with two friends while Christmas shopping. Within days of her disappearance, a letter was mailed to her husband that stated that she and her companions were traveling to Houston, Texas. The letter was written by a right-handed person, where Trlica was left-handed.[22]
Maria "Mia" Anjiras August 10, 1961 February 12, 1976 19 Norwalk, Connecticut A girl who ran away from her home in 1976.
Cindy King July 27, 1961 July 19, 1977 19 Grants Pass, Oregon A girl who went missing in 1977. She had worn a retainer when she went missing and had a scar near one of her temples, like the Jane Doe.[23][24]
Kimberly Rae Doss September 11, 1962 May 29, 1979 18 Jacksonville, Florida Vanished while visiting a relative. She had similar physical characteristics as the Jane Doe.
Angela Meeker July 9, 1965 July 7, 1979 15 Tacoma, Washington Vanished two days before her 14th birthday. She was last seen at a party. Her physical appearance is very similar to the Jane Doe.[25]
Deborah "Debbie" McCall March 30, 1963 November 5, 1979 17 Downers Grove, Illinois Last seen departing from school. She wore a gold necklace, like the victim and had very similar physical characteristics.[26]
Kristy Booth December 26, 1960 February 2, 1980 19 Midland, Texas A nineteen-year-old waitress who was presumably abducted while she was driving to get vehicle repairs.[27]
Rachael Garden December 30, 1964 March 22, 1980 15 Newton, New Hampshire Abducted while walking to a friend's house. She was last seen talking to three male acquaintances in a dark-colored car.
Laureen Rahn April 3, 1966 April 26, 1980 14 Manchester, New Hampshire Believed to have been abducted after leaving her home on the night of her disappearance. She did not take her purse, shoes or additional clothing, indicating she did not intend to travel far.[28]
Roxanne Easland c. 1956 June 28, 1980 23 - 24 Anchorage, Alaska A prostitute who vanished after she was supposed to meet up with an unidentified male. She is believed to have been killed by serial killer Robert Hansen.
Carla Corley December 31, 1965 August 12, 1980 14 Birmingham, Alabama A teenager believed to have been abducted from her home, as evidence of a struggle was present at the scene. Corley is believed to have been murdered.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Case File: 91UFTX". The Doe Network. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sabawi, Fares (3 November 2015). "East Texas sheriff hoping to identify dead woman". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bellow, Nicole (4 November 2015). "Detectives Hope New Composite of Murder Victim, will help Solve 35 Year Cold Case". KBTX News. ABC. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "DETECTIVES TRY TO IDENTIFY UNKNOWN GIRL FOUND DEAD 35 YEARS AGO". ABC 13 Eyewitness News. Chicago, Illinois. ABC. 3 November 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Stark, Cody (6 November 2015). "Sheriff's Office reopens 1980 murder investigation". The Item. Huntsville, Texas. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Dier, Arden (4 November 2015). "Texas Sheriff Trying to ID Girl Strangled 35 Years Ago". Newser. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Walker County seeks assistance in finding identity of local Jane Doe". 28 August 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Walker Texas Jane Doe November 1980". canyouidentifyme.org. 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hargraves, Michael L. (2002). "Whose Child is This?". 
  10. ^ "Texas DPS Unidentified Person Bulletin". 30 November 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Police Seek Identity of 1980 Jane Doe Homicide Victim". Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Blaser, Aaron (3 November 2015). "35-year-old murder case has possible ties to Rockport and Aransas Pass". KZTV10. CBS. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c "UNIDENTIFIED DECEDENT NOTICE" (PDF). www.harriscountytx.gov. Harris County Police Department. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "WALKER COUNTY COLD CASE". montgomerycountypolicereporter.com. Montgomery County Police Reporter. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jane Doe 1980". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Batista, Chris Giovanni. "Jane "Walker County Jane Doe" Doe". findagrave.com. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Texas DPS Unidentified Person Bulletin". Texas Department of Public Safety. 20 November 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  18. ^ Taylor, Karen T. Forensic Art and Illustration. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 
  19. ^ "NamUs UP # 4630". www.namus.gov. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Walker County Jane Doe; a 36 year mystery". Missing Persons of America. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Case File 1465DFTX". The Doe Network. 21 February 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  22. ^ "Case File 57DFTX". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "Cindy King". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Cindy Irene King". charleyproject.org. The Charley Project. 12 October 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "Case File 1351DFWA". The Doe Network. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "Deborah Mccall". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Case File 704DFTX". doenetwork.org. The Doe Network. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "Laureen Ann Rahn". charleyproject.org. The Charley Project. 12 October 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "105DFAL - Carla Rebecca Corley". The Doe Network. 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 

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