Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Santa Ana, Ca. (March 17, 2022): Orange County Sheriff’s investigators have released an updated forensic rendering of a 1983 Jane Doe in an effort to identify the woman and possibly generate new leads on her homicide case.



In April 1983, children discovered a human skull in a culvert while playing in the area of Canada and Old Trabuco roads in what is now the city of Lake Forest. An excavation was performed and approximately 70 percent of a female’s human remains were discovered.

Based on preliminary anthropological analysis, it is believed Jane Doe was 18-24 years old, Black or possibly mixed-race, about 5’3” to 5’6”, with a slight build. They also determined she had a distinctive front tooth with a gold crown on the left lateral incisor. Although the official cause of death is listed as undetermined, homicide is suspected.

In 1983, Jane Doe was compared to several reported missing persons without success and eventually the case ran cold.

Investigators revisited the case in 2018 after convicted serial killer Samuel Little confessed to targeting Black females between 1970 and 2005 in multiple states. Little was a long-haul truck driver who admitted to killing 93 women, including 13 in California, over the 35-year span. Little died in 2020 in California State Prison, Los Angeles County. Despite concerted efforts by investigators, no plausible link between Jane Doe and Samuel Little could be established and the case again went cold.

The Sheriff’s Department in 2019 partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to produce a forensic rendering of Jane Doe, which used a computed tomography (CT) scan of the victim’s remains to determine facial features. The image was widely circulated, however no new information was developed.

Refusing to give up on identifying Jane Doe, Sheriff’s investigators have now partnered with forensic artist Carl Koppelman to develop an updated rendering based on evidence evaluation, which depicts Jane Doe with longer hair and the top she was believed to be wearing at the time of her death. It also includes a detailed sketch of her distinctive tooth.

Anyone who recognizes Jane Doe or may have information on her case is asked to contact Investigator Bob Taft at 714-647-7045 or email coldcase@ocsheriff.gov. Anonymous tips may be submitted to OC Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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