Saturday, October 10, 2020

Unidentified Jane Doe - Gregg County, Texas 2002


UPDATE: 10/11/2020

DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit specializing in genetic genealogy, announced on October 8, 2020 that they were taking on the Gregg County Jane Doe 2002 case.

In 2019, DNA Doe Project was involved in another Gregg County area case, that of "Lavender Doe." She was successfully identified as Dana Dodd.   Read more about that investigation:

                        *    *    *

Original Dark Sleuth post from May 13, 2016:

Unidentified Jane Doe found in 
Gregg County, Texas on May 21, 2002.
(Source: NCMEC)


On May 21, 2002, a road construction crew came upon a set of human remains along Highway 135, south of Swamp City Road in Gregg County, Texas.  

They belonged to a young woman.  Although she was found in 2002, authorities believe she had died at least 2 years prior to discovery. Her most distinguishing physical feature was an unrepaired cleft palate.  

Can you help identify this Jane Doe? 

Physical Description:
- Estimated Age: 17-25 years-old 
- Estimated Height: 5'1" to 5'4"
- Race: White
- Estimated Weight: 115 lbs. (slim or petite build) 
- Distinguishing trait: unrepaired cleft palate

Additional composite views
(Source: NCMEC)

If you have any information on this case, please contact:
Gregg County Sheriff's Office: (903) 236 - 8400
Reference Case # 01B-014-02

Gregg County Crime Stoppers: (903) 236-STOP
or submit an online tip:

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 
1 (800) THE-LOST

Texas Missing Persons Clearinghouse: (512) 424-5074

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wanda Deann Kirkum was "Valentine Doe"


UPDATE 6/15/2020:

"Valentine Doe" was identified as 18 year-old Wanda Deann Kirkum of Hornell, New York.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kirkum "had never been reported missing."  

Wanda Deann Kirkum 
(Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

Her killer was identified via DNA as Robert Lynn Bradley.  He didn't live for long after killing Kirkum.  

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

Robert Lynn Bradley, accused killer of Wanda Dean Kirkum
(Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel)

For more information:

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Original Dark Sleuth post from March 2016:

                                            "Valentine Doe" was found murdered on February 15, 1991 in
                                                 in a wooded area near the shoreline of the Florida Keys.  
                                          Composites by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 

South of Bahia Honda Channel Bridge, in an area known as the "horseshoe" in the Florida Keys, the body of a young woman was found on February 15, 1991.

Her death was violent.  She was sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled.    

For the past 25 years, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) have tried to identify the victim, known as, "Valentine Doe," and her killer(s). 

Authorities determined that the young woman was between the ages of 16 and 25.  She had been dead for less than 24 hours when her body was discovered. She was most likely killed on Valentine's Day (February 14) 1991.  

Given the date and way in which she was killed, it is a sad irony that the young woman had a tattoo of a heart with the word, "Love" on her upper left shoulder.  

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mélina Martin - Missing from Farnham, Quebec since 2005

By Dark Sleuth

Mélina Martin 

Françoise Algier dropped her 13-year-old daughter, Mélina Martin, at a Fête des Neiges event in Farnham, Quebec on January 23, 2005.  It was approximately 1:30 p.m.  Martin was supposed to meet her mom later that day at 5 p.m. at a nearby restaurant but she never showed.  

Mélina Martin has been missing for 14 years.

The Fête des Neiges was an outdoor event in and around Roch-Bourbonnais Park in Farnham, about an hour east of Montreal.  It featured dog sledding and a fire pit.  

Police originally thought that Martin had runaway and would be back in a few days.  Her mother thought otherwise.  She said Martin was happy.  

According to her mom, Martin had checked in with her older sister to see if her older sister's children were going to the event.  Martin also asked another friend if she was going.  As her mother stated, "Why would she want friends there if she planned on running away?"

Sadly, in the years since her disappearance, Martin's father passed away.  Her family continues their search, although never quite giving up hope.  Martin's mother told reporters, "But as long as I don't have a body or bones, I won't mourn.  I won't believe it"

In November 2018, a group of divers searched the Yamaska River in Farnham for signs of Martin.  The diving operation was organized by the nonprofit Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec (MDIQ).

  (Source: Global News)

Mélina Martin was born in 1992.  She would be 27 years-old today.

Physical Characteristics:
Age at time disappearance: 13
Gender: Female
Race: White
Eye color: Blue/Green
Hair Color: Red with blond highlights
Height: 5' 3" / 160 cm
Weight: 115lbs / 52kg
Languages: Speaks French

Distinguishing characteristics: Pierced ears, pierced navel, pierced bottom lip

Last seen wearing:
Jeans with fur on the bottom, beige camisole, jean vest with fur sleeves, black coat with fur hood, white scarf and beige vinyl purse with blue star on side. 

There's a $3,000 reward for information that solves this case.  
If you have any information please contact:

Sûreté du Québec: 1-800-659-4264  
Reference Case#: 097-050125-001

Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-TIPS(8477)

Missing Children's Network: 514-843-4333 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Halifax John Doe - Halifax, Nova Scotia 2004

By Dark Sleuth

Halifax John Doe
(Source: CBC)
In early October 2004, the body of a man was found in the woods near a Petro-Canada station, close to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.  Authorities estimated that he had been dead for 10 days.  

He was described as a black man, weighing approximately 160 pounds and 5'11" tall.  He wore his hair in dreadlocks.  He also had a beard.  Authorities estimated he was in his late 20s or early 30s.  Both of his ears were pierced, but no jewelry was found. 

Halifax John Doe wore "a multi-colored dress shirt, Emilio-brand grey sweater, Lee blue jeans, and a new beige Timberland hiking boots."   A pair of Dolce and Gabbana prescription glasses, a flashlight and a McKinley brand backpack were located near his body.  There were several articles of clothing folded neatly inside the backpack.  Unfortunately no identifying documents were found. 

Items found near Halifax John Doe's body
(Source: CBC)
A forensic anthropologist noted that Halifax John Doe "had characteristics of both black African populations as well as white European populations"
According to authorities, he had broken his leg before he died and it didn't properly heal.  Dr. Tanya Peckmann stated that he "either didn't get modern medical treatment or removed the cast before his leg healed."    

Authorities ruled out foul play as the cause of death.   His DNA profile is on file.

Important Note:  Sources list Halifax John Doe's discovery date differently.  Some articles state he was found October 8 or 9.  The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains states he was found on October 12, 2004. 

Physical Characteristics:
Gender: Male
Race: Black, possibly mixed race (White)
Age: estimated late 20s - early 30s
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160 pounds
Hair: black, dreadlocks
Build: Medium 
Additional:  Pierced ears. Improperly healed leg fracture- may not have received modern medical treatment or cast was prematurely removed.  

If you have any information on this case please contact: 

Halifax Regional Police:
Tel: 902-490-5333 
Reference Case # 2011-55984 

Crime Stoppers:  (You can remain anonymous)
Tel:  1-800-222-TIPS(8477)

National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains
Case # 2014031015:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Alice Mae Sullivan- Missing from Nashville, Tennessee since 1986

By Dark Sleuth

Alice Mae Sullivan 
(Source: The Charley Project

On August 28, 1986 Alice May Sullivan, a bright 20 year-old sophomore attending Tennessee State University in Nashville disappeared.  Sullivan was an ambitious business major who "earned excellent grades" and worked part-time at Burger King.  She was also a devoted mother to her 3 year-old toddler son.  

Sullivan lived with her boyfriend and her son in the Town Terrace Apartments near the TSU campus.  She moved there with her boyfriend only 3 weeks before she went missing.  Sullivan was from Gallatin, Tennessee, where her parents still lived.  She was very close to them. They spoke every night on the phone. 

She was reportedly last seen "by a friend from Gallatin walking near TSU's Gentry Center" on the afternoon she disappeared.  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Book Review- I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

By Dark Sleuth

A single prolific criminal terrorized communities in Northern and Southern California.  He was a peeper, a burglar, a rapist and a killer.

For decades he remained nameless except for several monickers that, like his crimes, traversed the state.  
It started in the early 1970s in Visalia, California, where a man peeped, stalked and burglarized homes.  He earned the name the "Visalia Ransacker."  After moving north and making Sacramento County and the surrounding areas his hunting ground, he became the "East Area Rapist."  Later he targeted southern California, seemingly ending his crime spree in the mid 1980s in Orange County.  By then he was known as the "Original Night Stalker."    

What followed was silence.  Some believed that he had died.

But not Michelle McNamara, the writer and blogger behind True Crime Diary.  She predicted that he was still alive and would be found living a quiet, nondescript life.  

 In 2013, McNamara consolidated the previous monickers into one.  She rebranded the unknown perpetrator as the "Golden State Killer" in her Los Angeles Magazine article titled, "In the Footsteps of a Killer." 
Nearly 5 years later authorities announced the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo on April 24, 2018. He was a Navy veteran and former police officer.  DeAngelo was living in the suburbs near Sacramento.  The suspected Golden State Killer was caught when his DNA profile was uploaded to a genealogical database and it revealed a familial link.  

Sadly, despite all of her hard work on the case, McNamara passed away before her book was published and before police made an arrest. She died in 2016.

*   *   *

 I'll Be Gone in the Dark is a book meticulously researched.  True to its title, the book describes the author's growing obsession with the case.  In the beginning, McNamara tells of taking over her daughter's playroom at night as her family slept.  Surrounded by toys in a still house, she poured over details in online forums run by amateur sleuths.

Over time, McNamara gained the trust of investigators and was given extraordinary access to case files. 

It is strange to read the book after the news of the arrest.  As Rolling Stone reports, "The timeline for all these crimes significantly overlaps with DeAngelo's own history."  Even during the crime spree, authorities suspected that the perpetrator may have had military training and/or been a police officer.  

This is evident in a chilling eyewitness account McNamara describes of the "Visalia Ransacker" studying a target. 

One night, a young man was waiting for his girlfriend outside her home.  They were going out.  Inside his girlfriend was talking to her mom.  As he waited, he spotted a figure in the distance.  A dark-clothed man stared at the young man's girlfriend through the house's front windows.  The dark-clothed man seemed entranced.

The boyfriend stayed in his position, not visible to the voyeur. He watched as the man dropped to the ground and began a military crawl, quickly approaching the house.  When the man stood up, the boyfriend made his presence known.  It spooked the voyeur and there was a chase.  It ended with the Visalia Ransacker getting away- he seemed to be armed.

Even in his earliest cases, long before he escalated to rape and murder, the Visalia Ransacker/Golden State Killer, was using his military training to reconnoiter.  Practicing his approach, gathering information until he could strike.  Gaming the advantage. 

As McNamara had predicted, the perpetrator would eventually be found among the same communities he targeted: middle-class suburbs.  

The title I'll Be Gone in the Dark refers to something the Golden State Killer said to threaten a victim.  He was right, of course.  After each attack he was gone, protected both by the darkness and his knowledge of military and police procedures.