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Unsolved Murder: Garvin County Jane Doe

Updated on June 2, 2017
Forensic reconstruction by Betty Pat Gatliff
Forensic reconstruction by Betty Pat Gatliff | Source

It was a hot, sticky June day in 1987. Cars flew along I-35, a few turning off at the exit to Paoli while others continued on to their various destinations. Some were families out looking for a way to enjoy the Oklahoma Summer. Some were out-of-state travelers or truckers, zipping through the state with minds focused elsewhere. Nobody realized that just a mile and a half away, next to a lazy, meandering creek, lay the decomposing remains of a woman murdered in cold blood.

Cause of Death

She was discovered June 24th, 1987. Her body was left on the creek bed, 1 1/2 miles west from the I-35 exit to Paoli. (Likely a tiny tributary of the larger Washita river.)

Investigators determined the unknown woman suffered a horrific fate. She was shot in the back of the head, "execution style", possibly while kneeling or sitting next to the creek. She may not have known she was about to die. It was also determined she'd been shot with at least a .38 caliber bullet. This is all that is known, at least publicly, about the manner of her gruesome death.

She has remained unidentified for three decades.

Body Location Map (General Area)


TMJ Misalignment - Also known as temporomandibular joint disorder and TMD. Can be caused by trauma to the jaw or muscles in the neck, such as in a car accident. Other causes include grinding the teeth or arthritis in the jaw joint. Symptoms include pain, trouble holding mouth open, jaws that "lock", popping noises, and trouble chewing.

Kyphoscoliosis - Can manifest in different degrees at different stages of life, i.e. Jane Doe may or may not have been born with it. Can be caused by holding abnormal posture, infections like vertebral tuberculosis, or bone development disorders such as Osteochondrodysplasia. Symptoms include hunched appearance, trouble walking, uneven arms and legs, and secondary circulatory or nervous system disorders.

Dental details|NamUs
Dental details|NamUs | Source

Identifying Evidence

Her body could have only lain only a month, but the humidity and heat had done its work. By the time she was discovered, Jane Doe was nearly skeletonized. Precious identifying evidence was few, but intriguing.

Physical Details

Jane's eye color could not be determined (something to be aware of when viewing the forensic reconstructions). Her hair color was determined to be brown with some greying. She was estimated around 5 1/4 feet tall (63 inches). She was possibly between the ages of 21 to 35 years old. She was Caucasian.

Physical Ailments

Her jaw was slightly crooked and her teeth malformed. Investigators speculate she suffered from a dental condition known as a TMJ Misalignment. During life she would have probably complained about pain in her mouth and jaw, and had trouble biting or chewing. There was evidence that she had seen possibly two dentists in her lifetime, and one of the dentists was a newer graduate. A thinner reconstruction shows her jaw may have appeared crooked.

Her spine also featured an unusual curvature, diagnosed post-mortem as mild kyphoscoliosis. She may have walked with a strange gait or complained about back pain. It's also possible she was completely unaware that she had this ailment at all.


Some articles of clothing were found near the body, though investigators are not certain if the items did belong to Jane.

  • Camp Beverly Hills sweater, blue with white and pink stripes - This brand was popular at the time, sold in many stores but also as part of iron-on "make it yourself" kits like those made by McAlls.
  • Socks, ankle-high, with red and blue stripes around the top.
  • Bra, 38-40 D, unknown color.

Reconstruction by Traci Schinnerer. Shows Jane as she may have looked thinner, with TMJ misalignment more prominent.
Reconstruction by Traci Schinnerer. Shows Jane as she may have looked thinner, with TMJ misalignment more prominent. | Source


After months without being claimed, Jane was buried in November of 1987 at Mt. Olivet cemetery, Pauls Valley. Since then there have been few solid leads and her case remains unsolved.

As of June 2nd, 2017 a total of 18 missing women have been ruled out as the Garvin County Jane Doe. She is believed to be a local, possibly from the counties of Garvin, Pontotoc, or Seminole. However, she could plausibly be from anywhere; many of the woman submitted for identification were from out of state. Dental and DNA data have been submitted to aid in her identification.

Details poster created by author of this Hub.
Details poster created by author of this Hub. | Source

Contact Information

If you have details about this case you are urged to contact the OSBI. You may remain anonymous.

OSBI - 405-427-5421 - Case #: 87-0224


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