Officials haunted by cold cases

Officials haunted by cold cases New network could help discover identities

May 17, 2008
Muskogee Phoenix, OK
By Elizabeth Ridenour

Jane Doe was buried in 2006 under a large oak tree in a very peaceful spot in New Hope Cemetery near Hulbert. Her true identity may be a mouse click away for someone. Doe was discovered April 27, 2006.

Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson hopes the Doe Network, a network of people on the Internet, can help discover the unknown woman’s identity.

“I think it’s a heck of a deal,” Pearson said. “There’s another sister site to it, and we’re going to put it on both of them.”

The Doe Network, the International Center for Unidentified and Missing Persons, “is a volunteer organization devoted to assisting law enforcement in solving cold cases concerning unexplained disappearances and unidentified victims from North America, Australia and Europe,” according to the Web site.

“It is our mission to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families. We hope to accomplish this mission in three ways; by giving the cases exposure on our Web site, by having our volunteers search for clues on these cases, as well as making possible matches between missing and unidentified persons, and lastly, through attempting to get media exposure for these cases that need and deserve it.”

Pearson hopes someone will recognize Muskogee County’s Jane Doe.

“We’re going to get the information on there as soon as possible,” Pearson said.

Jane Doe was found in Muskogee County in a ditch about one-half mile west of Ross Road, two miles south of Interstate 40 near Webbers Falls by a motorist. She was barefoot and clutching a bloody towel across her lower abdomen. Another bloody towel was on the ground beside her. The only noticeable sign of trauma was a tremendous amount of vaginal bleeding. The medical examiner's office determined that the woman was pregnant, and the cause of her death was massive loss of blood, and was estimated to be 25 to 35 years old and of American Indian, Hispanic or Asian descent. She was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed from 135 to 140 pounds, and had collar-length, dark hair. She had a scar on her right shin that showed suture marks. Although she was wearing no jewelry, both ears had been pierced twice.

She was wearing a long-sleeved, white, turtleneck shirt and dark blue running pants with white stripes on the pants leg.

Tim Brown, who was an investigator with the sheriff’s department at the time, believes the woman may have been an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Brown is now the Webbers Falls chief of police. He lives near I-40 and on Monday was surprised to find a pickup loaded with 19 illegal immigrants in his driveway. Now, he’s wondering if Jane Doe may not have died during a cross-country trip similar to that of the 19 people jailed this week.

Three other cases from the area have had investigators scratching their heads for years.

One of those is the case of Daisy Doe, whose body was found floating 20 years ago near Fort Gibson Dam in Cherokee County.

Jack Goss, who was an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, recalls the case of Daisy Doe as well as the case of a woman dubbed Dora Doe, whose body was found two miles north of Moffett, near the community of Dora in Sequoyah County.

“I was on that case too,” Goss said. “Pecan hunters found her.”

Dora Doe’s body was found wrapped in plastic in Sequoyah County on Oct. 23, 1994. There was no clothing found on or near her body. She had been bound around the ankles with cord threaded through a wooden ring, like a drapery ring. She had extensive, professional dental work done that included restoration, a bridge and cap work.

She was believed to have been a mix of Indian or caucasian and Asian, in her late 30s to early 50s. She probably weighed 100 to 125 pounds and was between 5 feet 1 inch and 5 feet 6 inches tall. She had very dark brown and gray hair cut so short it resembled a man’s burr cut.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said that at the time, the body may have been placed along U.S. 64D, 1 1/2 miles south of Interstate 40 on Oct. 5, 1994. A witness reported seeing an object wrapped in black plastic being dragged into the woods near where the body was found. When the body was found, her head was about eight feet from her body, which had been wrapped in landscaping plastic and bound with bailing twine. Her arms were missing, but later some bones from her arms were found in nearby weeds. There was a 5- by 8-inch hole in her chest and her heart and one lung were missing.

The witness who reported seeing the man dragging the object wrapped in plastic said the man had been driving a blue 1990s model Chevrolet Blazer with an Arkansas tag.

He was of medium height, had a slender build and had brown hair and a mustache.

Scull reconstructions were done on both Daisy and Dora Doe.

Jessica Brown, public information officer with the OSBI, said the OSBI occasionally gets two or three leads on cold cases, and those are followed up on by investigators.

“Can you imagine not knowing what happened to your child?” Brown said.

She described the case of Daisy Doe as “frigid cold.”

“We don’t have anything on it,” she said.

The case of Dora Doe also has gone cold, but not forgotten.

“Dora Jane Doe is still an open case,” she said.

Another highly publicized case is that of Baby Jane Doe, who was found in McIntosh County near Warner. On Nov. 12, 1991, an eyewitness saw a man assist in the delivery of the infant, who was born alive, on the banks of a lake near Warner. As soon as the infant was delivered, the man beat the baby in the head with his fist, killing it. He then stuffed the infant in a plastic bag and tossed it on the ground.