Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Santa Ana, Ca.: The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has identified a Jane Doe homicide victim whose remains were recovered more than 41 years ago.

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 recovered.

An anthropology examination showed the victim was a black or mixed-race female, 18-24 years old, 5’3 to 5’6 with a slight build, and a distinctive gold tooth. Efforts to identify the victim over the years were unsuccessful.

In 2022, a DNA sample from Jane Doe was submitted to Othram Laboratories in cooperation with the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs), who provided the funding for the DNA extraction and testing, and a genetic profile was successfully obtained. OCSD’s Cold Case investigators began conducting investigative genetic genealogy in partnership with the FBI’s Regional Genealogy Team. After years of work, a direct family line for the Jane Doe was unable to be identified. In addition, multiple forensic renderings of Jane Doe were released over the years.

In late 2023, investigators contacted a distant genetic relative of the victim, who suggested Jane Doe’s forensic renderings be posted to a Facebook group for Jane Does and missing women from the 1970s and 1980s. Approximately one month after the posting, a woman contacted investigators and said she believed the Lake Forest Jane Doe could be her missing mother.

Maritza Glean Grimmett, a Panamanian native, married a US Marine in the summer of 1978 and gave birth to a daughter. In late 1978, the family moved to the US. The family resided in Columbus, Ohio and Millington, Tennessee in late 1978 through mid-1979. In July 1979, the couple began divorce proceedings. Maritza told her sister she was going to California. Her family never heard from her again.

Maritza’s relatives submitted DNA samples and Jane Doe was positively identified as Maritza Glean Grimmett, who was 20 years old at the time of her disappearance.

Investigators are actively investigating Maritza’s homicide. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Investigator Bob Taft at 714-647-7045 or coldcase@ocsheriff.gov. Anonymous tips may be submitted to OC Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.



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

By Editor

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

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