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Harris County Jane Doe (October 1980)

Harris County Jane Doe was a woman found murdered along Interstate 45 in 1980. Her case is speculated to be related to a possible serial killer who dumped victims along Interstate 45. Henery Lee Lucas confessed to killing her, although he later recanted.

Case

The victim was discovered along an unpaved road near a barbed wire fence along the I-45. She was strangled with the scarf found in her possession. Early in the investigation, it was theorized she was a high-risk victim, possibly a prostitute. During the late 1970s and 1980s, various high-risk victims, including prostitutes, runaways, and hitchhikers, were killed and disposed of along various highways in Texas.

Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing this victim in 1983 after being convicted of killing Becky Powell and Kate Rich. According to the Lucas Report, he correctly guessed the brand name of the gloves she wore on June 17, 1984. However, this may have been due to his reading of the victim's cold case file.

While in custody, Lucas and his partner, Otis Toole, confessed to killing over a hundred people with the Lucas Task Force, headed by the Texas Rangers, and closing 213 murder cases. However, it was eventually determined that Lucas had falsely confessed to most of the cases, with authorities greatly enabling him by bribing him with privileges or letting him read cold case files to confess. Later, Lucas would recant all of his confessions, including this one. Eventually, he was convicted of eleven murders and suspected of more and died on March 12, 2001.

In 2017, it was suggested that this victim could have been killed by an offender who killed three other females in 1980 and left their bodies along the same interstate. Two of the victims were Sherri Jarvis and an unknown female found on December 10, 1980. All four victims were strangled, and some were sexually assaulted in a similar way. Coincidentally, Lucas confessed to killing at least this victim and Sherri.

While her fingerprints are unavailable, her dental records and DNA are available for comparison, with the latter available in CODIS.

Characteristics

  • Her race is Black, but she could also have Indian or Asian admixture.
  • Black hair that was styled in various braids.
  • Possibly suffered from dental disease, as suggested by her lower set of teeth.

Clothing

  • White head scarf with red, black, and blue leaf design.
  • Long-sleeve blue and white pullover, size medium.
  • Blue denim pants, with large, orange-colored flowers embroidered on rear pockets, size 5 or 6.
  • Gloves.
  • White bra.
  • Red bikini underwear.

Accessories

  • Large woven rope-style handbag.

Sources

Footnotes

  1. The victim is also listed to have been discovered on October 15.
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