Facebook brings new clues in mysterious 1968 'Jane Doe' slaying in Huntington Beach
It's been more than 42 years since a woman who came to be known as "Jane Doe" was found face down in a Huntington Beach ditch, her throat slashed. She has never been identified, her killer never found.
After reopening the mystery several times, police have now turned to Facebook in an effort to put a name to the woman’s face. And now, after recently posting photos linked to the March 14, 1968 slaying, detectives say they have new leads in their effort to identify the young victim and have been able to eliminate evidence that was previously thought to be linked to the case.
"We have some workable clues," said Lt. Russell Reinhart, a spokesman for the Huntington Beach Police Department.
Police posted a composite drawing of the woman, photos of a white purse, matching wallet and seven photographs. The purse and wallet were discovered shortly after the victim's body was found, and police thought the items might be related to the slaying.
The department have received between 50 and 60 phone calls since Tuesday, dozens of e-mails, tweets and 16 comments on its Facebook page.
"We talked to the people who were actually in the pictures," said Reinhart. He said after years of speculation, detectives now know that the purse and photographs were false leads -- unrelated to the woman’s discarded body.
The woman was found in a field near Newland Street and Yorktown Avenue. She was white or Latina, about 5 feet 4 inches tall, 20 to 25 years old and had dark, shoulder-length hair. She was found by a group of children playing in a field.
About 30 minutes after the body was found, two boys playing nearly in an oil field near Huntington Street and Utica Avenue found a white purse with a matching wallet. Inside were six black-and-white wallet-sized photos, including one of a young boy wearing a cowboy hat, crying.
Reinhart said the department will be using Facebook and other social media in other cold cases in the future. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Mike Reilly at (714) 536-5940.
--Nicole Santa Cruz
Image: Huntington Beach Police Department