"Japanese Gardens Girl" is the nickname of a preteen, teenage, or young adult female who was run over by a vehicle in 1981 in Florida.
She was found lying on an area of grass on an access road near a Japanese garden. She had been killed by a vehicle that had crushed her skull in a hit-and-run, which left blood all over the crime scene. Her body bore many injuries from being dragged by the vehicle and was barefoot and partially clothed from the waist down; what are presumed to be her jeans and high heels were found in two separate locations on Watson Island, apparently after being tossed from a vehicle.
Although the circumstances surrounding the vehicle incident remain unclear, she was most likely was hit intentionally, as whoever killed her had passed over her twice with their vehicle. Investigators at the time believed that she was a sex worker killed by an associate (perhaps a client or a pimp) in the vehicle that eventually ran her over after an argument which ultimately lead to the girl either leaving the car herself or being forcibly ejected. Upon no longer being in the vehicle, the victim was hit and run over. It's not known if there is any evidence, such as witness accounts, supporting this theory, and her case file has since been lost.
Her age range has been changed several times; it was initially believed that she was between 15 and 20 years old, but later estimates put her age as being as young as 12 or as old as 26. The most recent estimation, as of 2016, narrows the age range considerably to between 14 and 16. As of March 2019, NCMEC still puts her at between 12 and 18. It should be noted that her body mass index at 5'2 and 90 pounds would be significantly underweight for a grown adult and would be more fitting of a girl aged roughly 13 years old.
- She had brown eyes.
- Her hair was medium-length, brown, kinky and had bleached streaks. Accounts differ as to what color the streaks in her hair were; they have been described as bleached blonde and also as being pink.
- Her eyebrows were "arched", styled, or painted on.
- She had a gap between her front teeth.
- She had some scars on her neck.
- She wore a white or beige shirt or blouse
- Blue "Chic" jeans with the words "wet dreams" written in bleach on a back pocket (not found with body)
- A white bra
- Bikini underwear with words "Rest Area Visitors Welcome"
- Black and brown "Town and Country" high heels (not found with body)