Re: Jane Doe 1977, Snohomish County, Washington
Jane Doe’s badly decomposed body was
discovered in August 1977 by blackberry
pickers in the south Everett area off 112
SW and 4th Ave. W (which was called Emander
Road at that time).
She had been strangled and shot several times
in the head. Officials weren’t able to identify her
or give her age. At the time (and even years
later) officials reported she could be anywhere
from 17 to 37 years old.
In 1979 David Roth, about 20 years old at the
time of the murder, was convicted of Jane
Doe’s murder and sentenced to prison.
He has since served his time and been released. He has been cooperative with cold
case detectives, but he hasn’t been able to help them much since he did not know the
victim or even her first name.
Roth had picked up Jane Doe, who was hitchhiking near Silver Lake, where he had
gone to swim. From there, they went to an area near where her body was later found
and drank some beer. When she refused his sexual advances he strangled her and
then shot her.
In 1992, Sheriff’s Det. John Hinds (now retired) used a plaster cast of Jane Doe’s skull
to create a facial reconstruction, which was shown to media in hopes of identifying her.
Despite his efforts, no one was able to identify her.
On April 1, 2008, cold case detectives James Scharf and David Heitzman along with
the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, had Jane Doe’s remains exhumed
from her unmarked grave at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Everett in order to get
DNA samples extracted from her bones. King County anthropologist Dr. Kathy Taylor
examined the bones and determined that Jane Doe was likely much younger than
Jane Doe is described as a white female, probably between the ages of
15 and 21.
The autopsy report estimates she was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 155 pounds. She
had short, light brown to brown hair, which did not have any hair color or treatment on
it. She appeared to have a suntan and was wearing the following: a tank top with
pastel stripes, cut off jeans, and blue and white tennis shoes. She also had a Timex
watch with a brown leather band on her left wrist. Her upper two front teeth had dental
Although the case has been solved for nearly 30 years, detectives want to identify the
young woman so they can give her remains to her family. It’s quite possible she was
from out of state since no one has come forward all these years to identify her. Still, we
are sharing the information with local media, too.
The facial reconstruction is no longer available. However, retired Det. John Hinds (who
now lives out of county) has completed a new sketch of her based on photos of his
reconstruction (along with the new information regarding her age) in hopes of providing
a picture of her that reflects her between the ages of 15 and 21.
We hope a relative of hers will recognize her from the updated sketch and provide a
sample of their DNA to confirm Jane Doe’s identity.
Anyone who recognizes the girl in the sketch or any of the other photos is asked to call
our tip line at 425-388-3845. We are also asking anyone who reported a girl missing in
the late 1970s (who fits the description of our Jane Doe or somewhat close to it) to call
us so we can verify that the girl’s name is still in state and national databases for
missing persons. People should call our tip line at 425-388-3845 and provide the
following information: the missing girl’s first name, middle initial, last name and date of
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
The slaying was solved and the killer sentenced to prison. But there's one piece of unfinished business left from the shooting and strangulation death of a woman in the South Everett area in 1977 -- identifying the victim.
The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in identifying a murder victim known only as Jane Doe whose decomposed body was found in August 1977. David Marvin Roth, 20 at the time of the slaying, was convicted of Jane Doe's slaying in 1979 and sentenced to prison. He has since served his time and has been released, but the Sheriff's Office said he has been unable to help detectives identify the victim.
Jane Doe is described as white and between the ages of 15 and 21 at the time of her death. She is estimated to have been about 5-feet-10 and about 155 pounds. She had short light brown to brown hair. She was wearing a striped tank top, cut off jeans and sneakers.
Anyone with information is asked to call Sheriff's Office tip line at 425-388-3845.
To read more details on the case and to view a drawing of what Jane Doe may have looked like, click here.
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
If you have any information that may help to identify this woman
(You may remain anonymous when submitting information)
Snohomish County Sheriff's Office
Detective James Scharf or Detective David Heitzman
Agency Case # 77-17073
NCIC # U-579855433
Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office
ME Case # 08SN0977
Last edited by Starless; 01-21-2009 at 08:01 AM.
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
He calls her the victim. The female. The person he killed.
David Roth spent more than half his life locked in a concrete cell for the murder of a woman he left without a name.
She was a hitchhiker he picked up on a hot August day in 1977 near Silver Lake in Everett. She refused to have sex with him. He wrapped a cord around her neck, strangled her, emptied a rifle into her head, took her life.
He erased her.
Homicide detectives long ago found her body, yet still search for the young woman they call their "precious Jane Doe."
Her identity apparently doesn't exist in the world of police databases and computer files. Jane Doe is among thousands of the nation's unnamed dead.
The search has stretched across four decades, bumping up against a wall of seeming impossibility. Detectives tried to capture her resemblance in pencil sketches. They sent her hands to forensic experts to collect her fingerprints. They've scoured lists of missing women. They dug up her remains to extract a genetic sample.
"This girl has been a Jane Doe longer than who she was," Snohomish County sheriff's detective Jim Scharf said.
In the hour she spent with Roth, he stole her life, her identity and so far, the chance to be claimed. He took her story.
"She needs to have her name back again," Scharf said, "and the family will have some answers."
Scharf and sheriff's detective David Heitzman last year intensified the search for Jane Doe's identity. The hunt has spanned the country and into Canada. The trail also brought them back to Roth.
Today he is a free man, released from prison in 2005. He is cobbling together a life outside prison walls, in a world that doesn't much resemble the one that left him behind.
Roth, 51, agreed to help the detectives with their search. He allowed them to dig around in memories he'd rather forget.
For the detectives, it's the first time a convicted killer has helped them without anything to gain for his cooperation. Roth, who spent nearly three decades following orders from uniformed men with guns, says he is trying to do the right thing.
"I'm here to help the detectives solve a mystery," he said.
It was the summer of 1977, a few days before Elvis Presley was found dead in his Graceland mansion. The 1950s science fiction classics "War of the Worlds" and "When Worlds Collide" were billed as a double feature at the Puget Park Drive-In Theater. Kids flocked to Silver Lake to soak up the last warm days of summer vacation.
She was walking south along the Bothell-Everett Highway on the east side of the lake. The beach was a good place to find someone willing to share a joint or a few beers.
Roth, then 20, drove by in his 1963 Chevy Nova. He noticed the tall girl with brown hair and a summer tan. She was wearing short, cutoff blue jeans and a striped tank top. She got into his car and Roth headed toward the Midland Grocery on Fourth Avenue. He picked up a six-pack of beer and drove to a secluded area near Mariner High School.
She smoked a cigarette, drank some beer. Roth wanted to have sex with her. She turned him down. Roth handed her a gift: a long, brilliant peacock feather.
She still wanted to go home.
Rage took over. Roth stretched a bungee cord around her neck, dragged her into the woods and fired his .22-caliber rifle into her head until the clip was empty, then picked up the casings.
Still raging, Roth later shot up his Nova after driving away from what he'd done.
More than 30 years later, sitting in a conference room in the sheriff's office, flanked by detectives, Roth doesn't want to talk about the killing. His deep voice is thick with irritation as he makes clear he's not interested in recounting the details. How he killed the victim, the female, the person, he says, doesn't have anything to do with finding her name.
What he did is there in court papers, old newspaper clippings and a thick, glossy green police file labeled Doe, J. 1977.
Berry pickers found her on Aug. 14, 1977. A few days exposed to the hot August sun and the destruction of her face made it nearly impossible to tell what she looked like before taking a ride with Roth.
Hints about her life are in the autopsy report. In the pockets of her shorts were 17 cents, a partial pack of Marlboros and an empty plastic bag. She wore blue-and-white size 7 boys tennis shoes, Mr. Sneekers brand. Her Timex watch was on her left wrist, the leather band fastened at the second-to-last notch.
The seven lead slugs dug out of her head belonged to someone else.
Sheriff's detectives caught some early breaks: They wound up with the murder weapon and the killer's car even before learning there was a dead woman lying in a field among blackberry brambles.
A day before she was found, a man was seen waving a rifle in a park outside Gold Bar. A police officer heading to the scene stopped a car he saw weaving along U.S. 2. Roth was behind the wheel.
The cop smelled pot and saw two roach clips in the Nova's ashtray. A search turned up three baggies of dope and a loaded .22-caliber rifle. Roth went to jail, his car impounded. He was released the same day Jane Doe's body was laid out on the coroner's table.
Over the next few days, Roth gave up his secret piece by piece, confessing to a friend that he'd killed a hitchhiker. The man called a Seattle police officer, Roy Reed, who contacted sheriff's detective Kenneth Sedy. Detectives searched Roth's Nova. They found peacock feathers, shell casings and bungee cords. They already had the .22-caliber Marlin rifle with a clip and 59 rounds of ammunition.
It took a long time, but ballistic tests eventually showed that the slugs taken from Jane Doe's head matched those shot from Roth's gun.
Police came for Roth at 2 a.m. Jan. 18, 1979, at an apartment in Port Orchard. They arrested him for skipping out on the marijuana charge. On the ferry ride back, sheriff's detectives questioned Roth about the killing. He confessed.
A jury on Nov. 9, 1979, convicted Roth of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life behind bars.
His victim was in an unmarked grave at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park. Sunrise section, plot No. 2.
'They still don't know who the victim was."
That was the second paragraph of a newspaper story printed three weeks after the girl was found. Jane Doe's truth hasn't changed. Her life and the path she was on when she ran into Roth are voids in the green police file.
Detectives still don't know if she was thrown away long before Roth dumped her in a field. They don't know if she was running away from heavy fists or hell-bent on making her own way on the streets. They don't know why she got in the car with a stranger.
They hold on to the belief that someone is looking for her.
"I want to help the family -- to return her, to give her a proper burial," Scharf said.
From the beginning, the search for Jane Doe's identity has been like assembling a jigsaw puzzle without a picture on the box to guide the way.
A pathologist, soon after her body was found, removed the woman's hands and sent them to the FBI lab in Virginia, where forensic experts collected her fingerprints. The prints have never matched any on file in law enforcement databases.
Two weeks into the investigation, detectives released a sketch of the victim to newspapers. The crude, cartoonish drawing was pieced together from a catalogue of lips and noses and other facial features provided in an identity kit.
A forensic dentist in 1988 noted that two of the victim's front teeth had extensive dental restoration, the likely result of an accident. A search for matching dental records led nowhere.
In 1992 sheriff's detective John Hinds, a forensic artist, used more advanced techniques to reconstruct the girl's face. He took a plaster casting from her skull and painstakingly molded in clay the contours of muscle and tendons. He gave Jane Doe a face, and photographs of his reconstruction were circulated, to no avail.
Scharf cracked open the file last year after receiving a call from Missy DesLonde, a director with the Doe Network. Information about thousands of missing people swirls around in cyberspace. The Web-based group cross-references missing persons cases against unclaimed bodies. If there are enough similarities, the volunteer cybersleuths contact police.
Experts estimate about 110,000 people are considered missing in the U.S. The unidentified remains of about 60,000 people are buried in unmarked graves or stored in boxes in medical examiner offices across the country. Physical descriptions for only about 15 percent of those remains have been entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
"All these unidentified people deserve a name," DesLonde said. "Jane Doe was not only murdered, but her existence was wiped off the face of the earth."
Scharf knew advances in technology might make it possible to identify Jane Doe through DNA. He spoke with forensic experts, including anthropologist Dr. Kathy Taylor and George Adams, program coordinator with the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas.
The center, funded by the National Institute of Justice, employs leading forensic scientists to identify and analyze genetic samples from unidentified remains. They also collect samples submitted by the relatives of missing persons so their DNA can be tested against that of unclaimed victims.
Taylor and Adams agreed that the detectives should exhume Jane Doe's remains. Scientists might be able to extract a DNA sample from a bone to compare against those in the nation's Combined DNA Index System. They hoped a relative's DNA might be on file. Taylor also agreed to examine the remains for any clues that were overlooked.
Scharf and Heitzman got a court order last spring to unearth the woman's remains. Taylor's examination led her to believe that Jane Doe was between 15 and 21 years old. Up until then, detectives believed she was older.
Meanwhile, Scharf headed deeper into the maze of the missing and unnamed dead. He learned how easy it would have been for Jane Doe to slip through the cracks in the 1970s, when missing persons databases were in their infancy. They still have lots of holes.
The FBI's database now collects all missing persons reports. Every year the records are audited and law enforcement agencies around the country are asked to update their missing persons files, accounting for whether a person has been found. If police fail to respond, the missing person's file may be purged from the system.
"So many things can go wrong," Adams said.
Scharf found three possible matches in the FBI database. Jane Doe's DNA didn't match any of them. So far, Scharf has ruled out 56 missing persons. He's still working on four possible matches, including one woman missing from Canada.
He also requested officials at the FBI's National Crime Information Center run an offline search capturing data of all the missing women matching Jane Doe's physical traits, and whose cases were removed from the database between 1975 and 1980.
Scharf got back a list: 11,086 pages, 39,447 missing women. The list doesn't tell him if any were found or why their files were removed.
"It's an impossible list to search," Scharf said.
The detectives also turned to Roth -- the last person to see Jane Doe alive. They wanted his help with a new sketch that Hinds, now retired, planned to prepare of the girl. Roth agreed to let detectives grill him again, this time in search of anything that may lead to his victim's name.
"David served his time. He didn't have to help," Scharf said. "I think he wants her to be identified."
Roth is tall and solid. His speech is slow, cautious and stuffed with phrases picked up in prison therapy sessions and 12-step programs. In a recent interview he rolled his eyes in frustration as he explained he's not interested in headlines or talking about his family, including his older brother. Randy Roth was convicted in 1992 of murdering his wife.
David Roth doesn't want the attention.
"The girl's story is what we're after," he said. "I see the detectives going out of their way to find her identity. When these guys asked, I told them I'd do whatever I could. I can no longer help her, but I can help those who are looking for her. Some things we have to do."
Roth compared his cooperation now to obeying the speed limit even if there aren't any cops around. "You do things you know to be right because you're trying to do right," he said.
He admits spending years locked behind bars without thinking about what was right. He was still getting high and drunk more than a decade into his sentence, he said.
"I was stuck on stupid," he said. It's a phrase he often repeats.
But he wanted out of prison. A counselor told him he needed to face what he did. The parole board wanted to be assured Roth wouldn't kill again.
"I started putting myself in the shoes of the parole board. If it was somebody like me and I wasn't convinced they were changed, I wouldn't let them go. I have hurt someone the worst way you can hurt someone," Roth said.
He signed up for classes: victim empathy, anger management, avoiding negative peer pressure, consequences and actions.
He memorized self-help mantras and the words of prison counselors. They tumble around in his explanations of how he's changed and why people should believe this atonement.
Roth was on track to be released in the late 1990s. That was delayed when, two decades after he confessed to the murder, his story changed. He told a psychiatrist he'd repressed the true reason he strangled her. She threatened to have her two boyfriends hunt him down, he said.
He repeated the story in a letter he wrote in 1999 to a Snohomish County judge, asking for a release date.
"Before the remembrance of the pertinent detail I had been telling the board and also when I confessed that I thought I killed her because she had rejected my advances toward her," he wrote. "I had always had a deep feeling that that was not the real reason."
Instead of releasing him, the parole board thought he needed more time behind bars. He finally got out in May 2005 and hasn't had any problems with the law.
Last year detectives showed Roth a new sketch of Jane Doe. He told them he was surprised people were still searching. Before they released the sketch to the media, Roth helped them with a few details. There was a little change with her hairstyle, and he told them he didn't think the nose was quite right.
"I've been trying to remember what she looked like," he explained. "It's not something I try to forget. I wish I could. As the years go by, the details fog up."
During a November meeting, Chuck Wright, a Mill Creek mental health professional and a volunteer with the sheriff's cold case team, asked Roth if he'd ever considered hypnosis. Maybe the memories are tucked away where he can't get to them? Maybe with help they can be unlocked?
Roth wasn't prepared for the question. Uncertain how to answer, he looked to the detectives seated across from him.
He doesn't think she told him her name. "You pick up a stranger, a hitchhiker, she's not going to tell you her name. You're not trying to get personal," Roth said. "She didn't ask me my name."
He offered detectives these details: She didn't have an accent. She spoke in a monotone. She didn't appear to be educated. He thought she was in her 30s because there were wrinkles around her eyes. He thinks she was right-handed because she held her cigarette in that hand.
The detectives nodded at Roth. It's a delicate dance, asking a man to put himself back in the moment of murder.
Just as difficult is taking Roth to a moment he's escaped in the 32 years since he strangled a hitchhiker. He forfeited his freedom, his youth discarded behind prison walls.
Yet Roth hasn't faced those who really knew, or loved, or miss that girl, Doe, J. 1977.
"I've always wondered how to alleviate someone's sorrow. I don't know what you can actually say to someone who you've killed their loved one," Roth said. "I think I would try to convince them I'm no longer the person that did that and I've learned to value life."
As long as she's nameless, there is no one for him to apologize to.
There's no looking into someone's eyes and hearing grief when they say her name.
He has escaped the unshakable moment, when she becomes real, when she becomes someone's daughter or sister or girlfriend again. When her story finally is taken back from him.
That is the moment when the sum of her life will become more than the weight of his sins.
Photos, Video, Sketches, etc.... at link above
Last edited by Starless; 04-01-2009 at 02:14 PM.
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
RANDY ROTH: A LIFE OF VIOLENCE, CHARM
By James Wallace P-I Reporter
Friday, April 24, 1992
Section: News, Page: A1
Until the drowning of his fourth wife, Cynthia, Randy Roth had been able to seal off each chilling chapter of his life like a nautilus shell, recreating himself for a succession of sweethearts and wives over two decades.
Had Cynthia Roth been better able to see through the bragging and bluster of her husband, she might be alive today. So, too, might Janis, Roth's second wife who died in November of 1981.
Roth was convicted yesterday of murdering Cynthia, and the Skamania County Sheriff's Department has reopened an investigation into what had previously been thought to be the accidental death of Janis.
While jurors heard much about Randy Roth's bizarre relationships with four wives, there is much that they never learned about the man they convicted yesterday.
His first brush with the law as an adult began 19 years ago when a Lynnwood gas station attendant recognized the distinctive swagger of the masked man who stuck a knife at his back and ordered him to the floor. The attendant knew instantly who his assailant was.
The man who bound the hands of Jesse Ackers and dragged him into a back room was Randy Roth, the ``bad dude" he had gone to high school with.
``As soon as he walked in the door I recognized him," Ackers said in a recent interview. ``I almost said, `Hey Randy, what's up?' Then I thought about it for a second and decided this guy might be serious and I better keep my mouth shut. I didn't say anything and let him rob me, and off he went."
A few weeks later, Ackers picked Roth out of a lineup, even though Roth, who was 18 years old and about to join the Marine Corps, had cut his long hair close since the gas station stick-up that netted him $240 and a few music tapes.
But Roth would not be charged until two years after the robbery, when his girlfriend supplied police with additional information. She turned Roth in after he burglarized her home when she broke off their engagement.
Roth was charged with armed robbery for the gas station holdup, but pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of burglary. He received probation.
THE JURY THAT convicted Roth of murdering his fourth wife to collect on her more than quarter-million-dollar insurance policy was never told of those cases.
Nor did they hear about the Walter Mitty stories Roth liked to tell his wives - how he once beat up serial killer Ted Bundy to protect his sister, or how he served his country on top secret missions in Vietnam. As a Marine, the closest Randy Roth ever got to Vietnam was Okinawa.
And the jury was not told the chilling story of his younger brother, David.
On a sunny August day in 1977, David Roth picked up a female hitchhiker near Everett and drove to a secluded spot behind Mariner High School to drink beer with her. When the woman refused to have sex with him, David Roth gave her a beautiful peacock feather, then put his powerful hands around her neck and strangled the life out of her.
He was caught two years later and is now serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla. He is eligible for parole in 1997.
Randy Roth also was born in North Dakota, the day after Christmas in 1954. His brother was born three years later, in the hamlet of Richardton, N.D., population 600. The family moved to the Seattle area two years later. Their parents divorced when Randy was in his teens, and he and his brother, along with three sisters, were raised by their mother, Elizabeth Roth.
At Meadowdale High School near Edmonds, where he graduated in 1973, Randy had a reputation as a tough guy and a bully.
``No one messed with Randy," remembered Ackers, who was a grade behind Roth at Meadowdale. ``He was always in trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd. Randy was known as the `bad dude' around school ... He was like the kids your parents say don't ever mess with."
A month after the gas station robbery, Roth joined the Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged 11 months later as a lance corporal, according to his service record.
He spent most of his duty tour at Camp Pendleton in California.
Roth was able to get out of the Corps two years early because of several hardship letters his mother wrote, asking that her son be cut loose so he could return home and help support the family.
TERRI HITCHCOCK helped Elizabeth Roth write one of those letters. She was engaged to Randy when he joined the Marines.
She and Randy had met the summer of 1972, a couple months before she entered Meadowdale High School. She was instantly attracted to the short, bearded but strong and muscular young man.
``He was basically the same as he is now. The same charmer," Hitchcock recalled. ``When he's interested in you he's very attentive. He treats you like a lady."
But ``He was known as a bully in high school," she said.
Roth was also very possessive. If another male student even looked at her, Hitchcock said, Roth would slap him around or throw him to the ground. He was very strong.
Hitchcock said she broke off her engagement to Roth in late 1974, when she found out he was seeing another woman, Donna Sanchez, who would become his first wife the next year.
After that, Hitchcock said, Roth broke into her family's home when they were away and took a television and stereo equipment. He was later convicted of larceny.
David Roth also attended Meadowdale High, but dropped out in the 10th grade. Physically, the brothers were very different. While Randy is short, David Roth stands about 6-foot-4. David's face is disfigured by severe acne.
David Roth's murder trial in Snohomish County Superior Court in November 1979 was bizarre, to say the least.
Roth's court-appointed attorney, Mark Mestel, was fired by Elizabeth Roth, the mother, after jury selection was completed. Mestel had wanted to plea bargin for second-degree murder since Roth had confessed to the killing.
Threats were made against the judge and court officers, who were all handed bulletproof vests to wear during the trial.
Elizabeth Roth and one of her daughters were admonished on several occasions by the judge for disrupting the courtroom.
A psychiatrist who examined David Roth testified the young man had an ``abnormally" close relationship with his mother.
While David Roth had deep affection for his mother, Randy Roth professed to hate his mother. He didn't even like being in his mother's home, said Terri Hitchcock. ``It was not a happy home," she said. ``It was very depressing to be over there. There was no love, no joy. You could feel it when you went into their house. That's why he liked to stay at my house, because it was a family."
Donna Clift, his third wife, and Hitchcock both described Randy Roth as a ``pathological" liar.
Roth and Clift met in 1985, a couple weeks after she arrived in Seattle with her son. Her marriage had just ended. Roth came into the store where she worked one day. He asked Clift out to dinner. A couple days later, he sent her a dozen roses. More flowers followed. Then he bought her a gold necklace and two leather coats.
``He was just nice," Clift recalled. ``I had never been treated like that by anybody."
A whirlwind courtship led to marriage within weeks. But almost immediately, Randy Roth changed, she said.
Roth tried to control her. He would not let her drink coffee in the house because he didn't like the smell. He would not let her have access to the bank account. He pulled electrical wires from her car so she could not leave home without him.
Roth had many secrets, she said. He had refused to tell her how old he was. He would not tell her anything about his previous marriages.
One day, while doing some snooping, Clift discovered a file containing insurance papers about Roth's second wife, Janis. He had collected more than $100,000 of insurance when she died in the fall from Beacon Rock.
Clift soon learned that her new husband had taken her to the same place on their honeymoon that he took Janis - to the Empress Hotel in Vancouver, B.C. She also discovered that Roth had bought her the same kind of car he bought for Janis - a Ford Pinto.
``Everything he told me I know was a lie now," said Donna Clift.
She left Roth after only a few months of marriage because she feared for her life.
Clift said she will never forget her father coming home one day in 1991 and telling her he had learned that Randy Roth had married Cynthia, his fourth wife. Clift's mother turned to her and said, ``She'll be dead within a year."
Two weeks later, just short of Cynthia's first anniversary with Randy, she drowned.
Yesterday, a jury said it was murder.
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
Roth Joins Younger Brother David As A Convicted Killer
By Stephen Clutter
If convicted wife-killer Randy Roth is sent to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, there will be at least one familiar face there - his younger brother, David Roth, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a woman in 1977.
Although David Roth's case received less attention than his brother's, it does include a mystery that lingers today. Authorities still don't know the name of his victim.
David Roth, now 34, was living with his mother in Lynnwood when the murder occurred. While Randy Roth was convicted of killing for money, the motive in the murder by David Roth is obscure.
According to court documents, and medical examiner's records, this is what happened:
On Saturday, Aug. 13, 1977, David Roth, then 20, was driving his 1963 Chevrolet sedan through Gold Bar when police stopped him on a traffic violation.
While checking out Roth's car, officer Fred Vanderpool found a .22-caliber Marlin rifle and a clip with 59 rounds. Roth was arrested on a weapons charge.
The next day, a couple picking berries in Everett came across the body of a woman in a wooded area near Mariner High School.
The woman was fully clothed, lying face down, with her arms at her sides. She had been strangled and shot in the head seven times. Two empty beer cans were found nearby.
At the time, police did not suspect Roth. He was released Aug. 15 and went to a friend's house, where he talked of the murder.
On Aug. 19, Roth's friend went to the Snohomish County sheriff's office and related what Roth had told him.
Roth, according to the friend, was driving near The Boeing Co.'s Everett plant when he picked up a woman who was hitchhiking. They stopped to buy some beer, then drove to the woods near Mariner High to drink.
Eventually, Roth attempted to rape the woman. When she resisted, he strangled her with an elastic cord, walked to his trunk, got his rifle and shot her in the head repeatedly.
On Aug. 22, the sheriff planned to arrest Roth in district court, where he was supposed to appear for a pre-sentencing interview on an earlier charge of marijuana possession. Roth never showed up.
He was a fugitive for more than a year. He was arrested in Port Orchard, Kitsap County, on Jan. 18, 1979.
On a ferry ride to Seattle, he confessed to a Snohomish County detective. He later changed his plea to not guilty, but was convicted of first-degree murder in November 1979.
Key evidence included the fact that the bullets found in Roth's car when he was stopped in Gold Bar matched slugs found in the woman's body. Tests also showed the slugs were fired from his rifle.
David Roth was sentenced to life in prison. He is eligible for release in March 1997.
Snohomish County authorities never learned the identity of the murdered woman, who was in her late 20s to early 30s.
She is buried as "Jane Doe" in a pauper's lot at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Everett.
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
Thousands of people across the country are known only as John or Jane Doe.
They're buried in unmarked graves. Boxes of their remains gather dust on shelves in medical examiners' offices. Their lives are mysteries, their stories untold. They are the country's nameless dead.
Finding their identities, returning them to their families, can be nearly impossible.
Law enforcement databases that are used to collect information about unidentified remains and missing people are incomplete. The databases, not originally designed to track those cases, can't adequately search for matches among missing persons reports and information about unidentified victims, experts said.
"There have been so many gaps," said Beth Carpenter, the Northwest region system administrator for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Snohomish County sheriff's detective Jim Scharf encountered those gaps firsthand in his renewed search for the identity of a woman now known only as Jane Doe 1977.
Her case was featured in a March 29 Herald story. Several people have since called police. Hundreds also have watched a video made for the Internet about the search for her identity.
"We've had a bunch of tips come in. It's showing there's interest here locally," Scharf said. "If she's a local person, there might be a chance we figure out who she is."
Blackberry pickers found her body near Mariner High School in August of 1977. She had been strangled and shot several times in the head.
David Roth, then 20, confessed to picking her up near Silver Lake in Everett and killing her after she refused to have sex with him. He was sentenced to life in prison.
For three decades, he has denied knowing the woman's name.
Roth, now 51, was released from prison in 2005. Sheriff's detectives interviewed him last year in pursuit of clues that might lead them to the woman's identity. Detectives exhumed the woman's body to extract DNA from a bone to compare against that of missing people. They also released a new sketch of the woman, who they call "our precious Jane Doe," to the media after an anthropologist determined she was likely between 15 and 21 years old.
Detectives don't know if the girl was ever reported missing, if her family gave up searching, or if information about her disappearance was purged from the FBI's National Crime Information Center. So far, her fingerprints, dental records and DNA don't match any on file.
Federal authorities last year launched a new tool in hopes of helping identify people like Jane Doe 1977, along with thousands of people who are missing.
Police, coroners, forensic scientists, victim advocates and others came together in 2005 and identified the problems they face when trying to locate missing people or identify the unnamed dead. Out of that summit, a national task force formed and decided there was a need to create databases to track those cases.
"In some parts of the U.S. these cases get lost or ignored, but they have the ability to live on," Carpenter said.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, was created as a central and searchable repository for information about missing people and unclaimed remains. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Relatives of missing people, coroners and law enforcement have access to the databases and can enter information about cases.
"Nobody wants to have to have this database, but it's getting everybody to the same table and on the same page at last," said Todd Matthews, a spokesman for the Doe Network and a regional systems manager for NamUs.
The missing persons database came online earlier this year. Unlike the law enforcement systems, relatives of missing people can submit information they think might help locate their loved ones, Carpenter said. Missing persons reports will be verified by police before going into the database, she added.
"It's important to give loved ones the opportunity to work on their loved one's case," Carpenter added. "We want to empower them, give them some sort of control."
The database for unidentified remains went online about a year ago. Information for about 4,000 sets of remains has been entered into the database, Carpenter said.
The remains of up to 60,000 people are believed to be buried or stored in evidence rooms, awaiting identification. Only about 15 percent of those are remains have been entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
Federal authorities are working to get coroners and medical examiners to enter information into NamUs about the unidentified remains from their jurisdictions. The more data available, the more likely it will be to make a match, Carpenter said.
The National Institute of Justice also is providing money to collect and analyze DNA samples from relatives of missing persons. Family samples can be compared to those of unidentified remains. The analysis is being done at the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas.
"It's critical these (people) are identified as soon as possible," program coordinator George Adams said. "Most are victims of violence. You can't take a family's grief away, but you can give them some peace."
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
Her thigh bone has been sent to Texas, for DNA Testing.
Story Published: Nov 2, 2009 at 11:21 PM PST
Story Updated: Nov 3, 2009 at 2:00 AM PST
By Joel Moreno Watch the story SEATTLE -- For 35 years, a murder victim has only been known to investigators as "Jane Doe."
But one Snohomish County detective has never given up hope of determining her identity so that her family can finally bury any last doubts.
"She was just buried here in an unmarked grave," said Det. Jim Scharf.
In August 1977, a girl hitchhiked near Silver Lake. A man picked her up, tried to rape her, strangled her, then shot her in the head.
Blackberry pickers found the body days later.
"The trauma to the head and decomposition made her face unrecognizable," said Scharf.
Police caught the killer, and he went to prison. But investigators never could identify the girl.
The detective won't give up, and a crime lab in Fort Worth, Texas may hold the key.
The Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas is a world leader in DNA research.
Scharf sent Jane Doe's thigh bone to the DNA lab.
"And we could type them. We might give them a lead that would help them solve this case," said Dr. Bruce Budowle.
Lab technicians sawed the femur into smaller fragments, then mixed the shards with liquid nitrogen to powderize the bone and extract the DNA.
From a single bone, scientists can reconstruct not just height and weight, but also eye color, skin color and even the shape of a face.
"I could actually take a leg bone and no skull. If I had enough information, ( I could) create some imagery or some characteristics," said Budowle.
The lab reaches back across the decades to give answers to today's investigators. It has been able to identify more than 400 John and Jane Does so far.
But thousands of other cases are waiting to be solved.
"These are individuals," said the UNT center's George Adams of the unidentified bodies. "They will never be forgotten."
Snohomish County investigators have worked up a facial reconstruction for Scharf's Jane Doe. And UNT has her DNA profile.
Every DNA profile developed by UNT goes into a growing database called Namus. There, the data is checked against missing persons cases.
The lab's work is essential because when victims go unidentified, killers get away with murder. Gary Ridgway took advantage of mishandled missing persons cases to keep up his killing spree for years.
Jane Doe's killer was caught, but Scharf still wants to give the girl back her name.
So far, the UNT lab hasn't been able to identify Jane Doe. So for now, Scharf is relying on the clues he does have.
"This is a photograph of her watch," said Scharf.
Her clothes include a tank top with no bra, men's Mr. Sneaker-brand size-7 shoes.
Dental records show restorations on two front teeth, and experts place her between 15 and 21 years old.
Scharf still hopes he can track down the right family member to submit the sample and make the match. Only then can Jane Doe go home.
"If we get the word out there, we're going to solve this sooner or later," Scharf said.
Across the state, 112 unidentified bodies are waiting to be buried under their own name. Twenty eight of them are murder victims.
There are 40,000 such cases nationwide
Re: Snohomish County Jane Doe
Ruleouts from NAMUS:
Case number 08SN0977
NCIC number U579855433
Date found August 14, 1977 at 12:00 AM
Date created June 19, 2008 at 09:40 PM
Date last modified November 18, 2009 at 06:25 AM
Date QA reviewed June 20, 2008 at 05:29 AM
The following people have been ruled out as being this decedent:
First Name Last Name Year Of Birth State LKA
Maria Anjiras 1961 Connecticut
Rose Lena Cole 1956 California
Cheryl Ann Moser-Iacovone 1961 Pennsylvania
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