Most of us out here on the Pacific Rim have roots from many parts of the country. I spent most of my early youth out in SE Texas, mainly the San Antonio and Corpus Christi areas. I remember a story that took place 38 years ago involving a girl from the same region. On Halloween Night 1980, she was murdered in a horrific fashion and thrown naked over an embankment like a sack of garbage.
Sadly, not only have the perpetrators never been brought to (earthly) justice; but nobody knows this young lady's name. At least nobody that we know of. Aside from sets of digits in Missing Persons Files, she's known only as Walker County Jane Doe.
Because of some new technologies and better law enforcement networking, the case has been reopened and put into the capable hands of Detective Thomas Bean. Bean has shown extraordinary initiative and determination to solve this case. A statement put out by the Sheriff's Office summarizes what we know so far, as provided by The Doe Network:
"A truck driver passing by the Sam Houston National Forest found the unclothed body of the victim. She was lying face down on the shoulder of I-45 north, a half mile south of FM 1696 exit, 2 miles north of Huntsville. She had been sexually assaulted with a blunt instrument, beaten, and strangled. The general condition of the body and her overall health and nutrition indicated she had probably come from a middle class home. There were no identification with the body. No semen was found on or in the victim's body.
"When the murder became known through media accounts, several people came forward and said they’d seen a teenager matching her description the day before her body was found. A witness identified the victim as a girl who had been at the South End Gulf station around 6:30 PM on Halloween night asking for directions to the Ellis prison unit.She had been wearing blue jeans, a yellow pullover sweater with big pockets that hung below her waist, and she was carrying high-heeled sandals in her hand. To the best of his recollection, she had been let out of a 1973 or 1974 blue Chevrolet with a lighter colored top, possibly a Caprice, which was being driven by a white male. She looked disheveled like she had been traveling and perhaps sleeping in her clothes. She left the station, walking north on Sam Houston Avenue.
"A waitress working at the Hitchin’ Post truck stop on Interstate 45 said the girl came into the restaurant the same evening and again, asked for directions to the Ellis Unit, saying she had a friend there. A map was drawn for her and she departed. The waitress asked the girl how old she was and the girl responded 19. The waitress thought that was an obvious lie and then asked the girl if her parents knew where she was. The young girl replied, "Who cares." The waitress then asked her where she was from. The girl replied the Aransas Pass / Rockport area. Her photograph was shown to every inmate at Ellis Prison Unit, but no one claimed to know the girl."
She is estimated now to have been about 5-6 and around 105-110 lbs. Almost all forensic scientists believe that she was probably 15 years old. She had sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. There was a 1 1/2 scar above her right eye. She may have been left-handed, but that is not certain.
The sheer brutality unleashed upon her by her killer suggests that this killing was either motivated by deep personal hatred or by an usually sadistic psychopath. The intention to torture was evident: she was beaten severely and sexually penetrated both vaginally and anally with a blunt object---so badly that it caused internal bleeding. She was strangled with a pair of women's nylons---so forcefully that when I first saw her postmortem photos, I assumed that she'd been hanged.
Reader, imagine this were your girlfriend, or your sister, or your daughter. To be treated in this fashion and then forgotten? It's unconscionable.
There are many theories as to her murder, but what we need to do first is to give her back her name. Detective Bean believes that knowing her identity will lead to her killers, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Let's be candid here as men: WCJD is pretty enough that you'd remember her. And she was well-enough cared for that there were those acting as her legal guardians. I think it highly doubtful that those close to her simply forgot that she ever existed.
As proof of this, let us look at two credible pieces of evidence which may help identify her. Shortly after the case was reopened, a man presented a Polaroid photograph from late Spring, 1980.
The informant's father was an electronics technician whose job kept him on the road often. His sister (the girl on the right) befriended another girl at the motel where they were staying near Beeville, Texas. The other was named Kathy, or Katie, and admitted to her that she was a runaway from Corpus Christi and staying with some friends or relatives. Like WCJD, she mentioned knowing someone in prison. A closeup also shows a possible scar near her eye:
A second credible source claimed that she remembered the young woman from a now-closed girls' home in Corpus Christi called Rebekah House. That was during the 1979-80 school year.
That people remember seeing her 40 years ago suggests that others probably do as well.
Please feel to share this post. If anyone has information on this case, they may contact the Walker County Sheriff's Office at (936) 435-2400. Or you may leave a comment here; all of our comments are moderated, so anonymity can be protected if desired.