In October we ran some articles eliciting the public's help in identifying a young woman who was murdered on All Saints' Day, 1980 in Huntsville, Texas. There have been some new developments over the last month, all which bring a step closer to giving our blog's adopted sister her name back.
To recap briefly for new readers: this young woman was last seen alive around 6:30 PM at a truck stop just outside of Huntsville. She was asking directions, apparently having made a wrong turn in the city. The owner of a gas station saw her get out of a car about an hour earlier, and walking toward Sam Houston State University. Twelve hours later, she was found dead along Interstate 45 after being mercilessly beaten, sexually tortured, and garroted. A more detailed account is here.
There was no identification on the girl, her fingerprints were not file, and---somewhat tellingly (or maybe suspiciously)---no one reported her missing. This is quite unusual because the woman was well-groomed, well-nourished, in overall good health, and no narcotics or other intoxicants were found in her system. Modern DNA profiling has estimated her age between 14 1/2 to 15 1/2 years old. Sadly, after 38 years, she is still only known to us as Walker County Jane Doe, and NCIC #U312231075.
When the case was reopened in 2015, a woman came forward with a photograph taken at a motel in Beeville, Texas. She stated that her family was living at the motel that Summer 1980 and made friends with another girl staying there named Kathy.
Kathy (the girl on the left) admitted to her friend that she was a runaway from Corpus Christi. She was staying with some friends at the motel. Forensic photographers believe that Kathy and WCJD may well be the same person. And, at the time of our last update, we received several indications---some from witnesses---that WCJD was enrolled at the Rebekah Home for Girls in Corpus Christi during the late 1970's. One tip that we've received since October stated that another alumni of Rebekah Home recognized the girl and also said that her name was Kathy. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to authenticate that source.
However, one of our readers looked up some film footage from the period shot at Rebekah Home. These two stills were taken from the documentary Freedom's Last Call produced by Roloff Ministries sometime in 1978 or 1979:
This was from a film clip of the Rebekah Home Girl's Choir. She bears a strong resemblance to WCJD. No one yet has told us who she is. The next two are from a VHS tape of one of Rev. Lester Roloff's sermons, positively dated to 1979. They aren't quite as clear, but the likeness is still apparent:
This could be a remarkable coincidence, but circumstantial evidence is suggesting that it is not. The uncorroborated tip alluded to above suggested that 'Kathy's' parents were in some way connected with Rev. Roloff's church. Roloff, I believe, was of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist congregation. Thus it's very important that members of that denomination and former students at Rebekah Home pay especial attention to this PSA.
One other development which has come up just within the last week is, of course, the mass-confession of serial killer Samuel Little. We don't have any information of his involvement in this case, or lack thereof, as of this writing. At any rate, the most important thing now is to identify this girl.