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Thread: Snohomish County Jane Doe

  1. #21

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe

    Daily Herald (Everett, WA)
    May 4, 2008
    Section: Letters
    Detectives doing right by victim

    Article Text:
    Families and Friends of Missing Persons and Violent Crime Victims wishes to acknowledge and commend the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, and in particular, Cold Case Detectives' David Heitzman and Jim Scharf for "doing the right thing" in re-opening the murder case of "Jane Doe" whose body was found in August of 1977. (Friday article, "Detectives hope to ID homicide victim after decades.")
    Unlike most cold cases that are opened, where identity of the victim is known, but the perpetrator has not been caught, this case focuses on the victim. The killer, David Martin Roth was convicted of first-degree murder in 1979, served his sentence, and has been released from prison. With DNA and other new technology, it is hoped that the female victim can be identified and her remains returned to her family for proper burial.
    This young woman has family and friends who undoubtedly have mourned her disappearance for over 30 years. Their pain is unimaginable. It is our hope "Jane Doe" can be identified, so her family can begin to piece together what happened and no longer wonder each day if their daughter is alive or dead.
    Over the 30 years we have worked with the families of missing persons, we have heard the pain in their voices of not knowing the fate of their loved one who is missing because foul play is suspected.
    Our organization thanks these hard working detectives who care about the victims and those left behind.
    Jenny Wieland
    Executive Director
    Families and Friends of Missing Persons and Violent Crime Victims
    Last edited by Starless; 05-26-2008 at 10:14 PM.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe

    December 30, 1988
    Edition: ZONE
    Section: NORTH
    Page: E3

    Index Terms:


    Author: LIZ BROWN

    Dateline: EVERETT

    Article Text:
    On a shelf in the Snohomish County medical examiner's office sit thick folders stuffed with fingerprint cards, sketches and correspondence about four people. Every few weeks, investigator Rick Balam opens the folders and tries to identify them
    The three women and one man are unidentified homicide victims.
    The killer of one woman - found shot in 1977 near Mariner High School, south of Everett - was convicted of her death, but even he didn't know her.
    Balam successfully identifies hundreds of bodies each year, but the unresolved lives of the Jane and John Does gnaw at him. Somewhere, someone is missing a family member. Balam, whose specialty is identifying the nameless dead, won't be satisfied until he solves the mystery.
    ``It's challenging,'' said Balam, whose office is in the Snohomish County Courthouse. ``I don't enjoy dead bodies, but what I do find interesting is finding out what happened to those people and who they are.''
    It isn't a pretty job. In some cases, Balam and four other investigators work with decomposing bodies or skeletons as they gather evidence at the scene of natural and accidental deaths, suicides and homicides.
    The four unidentified bodies include female skeletal remains found last Jan. 1 in Canyon Park near Bothell. Balam said such remains are the most challenging and difficult to work with, especially if animals scatter the bones and prevent recovery of teeth and a complete skeleton.
    Another woman was found May 8 in woods east of Gold Bar within hours of her death. She was about 40 years old.
    ``I think she was a hitchhiker who hitchhiked from the Tacoma area to the Bellingham area,'' said Balam, who nicknamed the woman ``Mary.'' He took sketches of her to local homeless shelters, but no one could identify her.
    The unidentified man was found east of Gold Bar in June 1987.
    Balam said the man had extensive dental work and easily could be identified if he had been reported missing and if his dental records had been entered into state and national computer identification networks.
    Balam sends descriptions, sketches, skeletal and dental X-rays and fingerprints of the unidentified bodies to dozens of agencies in Washington, the United States and Canada. A central agency to coordinate all the data would make identifying people easier, he said.
    Fingerprints are the best tool for identification but aren't helpful if the missing person had never been arrested or applied for a gun permit. Fingerprints taken for other reasons often aren't entered into computer systems such as the state Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
    ``The worst problem you have is street people,'' Balam said.
    ``The families finally give up on these people and don't list them as missing persons.''
    In those cases, Balam often relies on the news media to print or broadcast descriptions of unidentified bodies. A Seattle woman found dead in October near Index recently was identified by a friend who recognized a sketch of her on a TV news program. The woman, a transient, had not been reported missing by her family.
    Nothing matches the relief Balam feels when remains of an unidentified body - always buried, never cremated - are returned to the family.
    ``It's a never-ending battle,'' he said. ``You've just got to keep working on them. You have to look at it from the standpoint that you're there to work for the family.'

    Last edited by Starless; 05-26-2008 at 10:15 PM.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
    May 2, 2008
    Edition: Final
    Section: News
    Page: B1

    Index Terms:

    Author: SCOTT GUTIERREZ P-I reporter
    Article Text:
    Unlike most cold cases involving unidentified victims, Snohomish County sheriff's detectives actually know who killed the young woman whose remains were found about 30 years ago in blackberry brush south of Everett.
    The evidence pointed to David M. Roth, then 20, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1979 and sentenced to prison. Despite Roth's confession to a detective, he swore he never knew the name of the hitchhiker he picked up, then strangled and shot several times after she refused to have sex with him one day in August 1977.
    The girl's identity still eludes sheriff's investigators, who Thursday released a new composite sketch of "Jane Doe." They hope someone will recognize their murder victim - maybe a family member who reported her missing. And they hope to bring both cases some closure.
    "In essence, he took her life and he took her identity away from her because she's been a `Jane Doe' now for 30 years - that's probably twice as long as she was known by her real name," said Detective Jim Scharf, who, along with his partner, has 62 unsolved homicides and missing-person cases. Some date back to the 1960s.
    Investigators think they might have a better estimate now of the girl's age and have more accurately depicted how she might have looked as she was thumbing for cars along the Bothell-Everett Highway on the day she was killed.
    In 1992, Detective John Hinds produced a plaster reconstruction of the face of the victim, then thought to be in her 20s or 30s. It was shown to the media but never produced solid leads.
    "We had someone in Canada wondering if it was someone who was 50 years old. That's why we wanted to get the forensic artist to do a new likeness of her," Scharf said.
    Last month, in hopes of reviving the investigation, cold-case detectives working with the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office exhumed the woman's remains from an unmarked grave at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Everett to extract DNA samples to enter into a nationwide database.
    The remains were examined by King County forensic anthropologist Kathy Taylor, who concluded the victim was probably between 15 and 21, and likely 16 to 19. That is younger than the initial estimate of 17 to 37.
    Hinds, an FBI-trained forensic artist who has since retired, created a new forensic sketch of the girl's face, based on photographs of the plaster reconstruction and new estimates of her age.
    Roth was paroled in May 2005 after serving 25 years in prison under the state's former sentencing laws. He now lives in Everett and has cooperated with detectives, even pointing out that they initially had picked the wrong hairstyle for the composite sketch, Scharf said.
    But he never knew her name and only recalled her talking about living with a couple of guys and that she had hitchhiked in the Midwest, Scharf said.
    Roth had picked up the girl near Silver Lake, where he had been swimming. They got some beer and drove to the woods south of Everett, near Mariner High School.
    Blackberry pickers found her body Aug. 14, 1977. Two beer cans were found nearby.
    Within days, Roth's friend reported to police that Roth had talked about the murder and wanted help moving the body. Police later matched the fatal bullets to a rifle and ammunition in Roth's vehicle.
    Roth, who was living in Lynnwood, temporarily fled the state. He was arrested in January 1979 after police found him in Port Orchard, Scharf said.
    The girl was white, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 155 pounds. She had short, light brown or brown hair, which was her natural color. She appeared to have a suntan and was wearing a tank top with pastel stripes, cut-off jeans and blue and white tennis shoes. She may have been from out of state.
    She wore a Timex watch with a brown leather band on her left wrist and had dental restorations on her two front teeth, according to Sheriff's Office reports.
    Anyone who might recognize the sketch or who reported missing girls in the late 1970s is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office tip line at 425-388-3845.
    Sheriff's investigators ask that anyone who reported a missing girl provide the girl's first name, middle initial, last name and birth date, so that authorities can ensure that the information is present in state and national databases, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said.
    P-I reporter Scott Gutierrez can be reached at 206-903-5396 or scottgutierrez@seattlepi. com.
    Last edited by Starless; 05-26-2008 at 10:16 PM.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe

    Daily Herald (Everett, WA)
    May 2, 2008
    Section: Local News
    Detectives hope to ID homicide victim after decades

    Article Text:
    EVERETT -- Snohomish County sheriff's cold case detectives know who killed the young woman more than 30 years ago.
    They recently produced a sketch of what she might have looked like in 1977.
    Now, they want to know her name.
    Detectives on Thursday released a new sketch of the unidentified victim, and aim to distribute it as widely as possible so somebody might recognize her.
    The sketch, done by a retired sheriff's detective, was drawn after her remains were exhumed April 1, and a King County anthropologist determined the victim, between 15 and 21 years old, was younger than officials thought years ago.
    The deputies also had her DNA sent to the FBI for comparison and to be included in a national database.
    "We want to give some answers to her family," detective Jim Scharf said Thursday. "We want to return her identity to her. She's been Jane Doe to us for longer than she was alive."
    The victim was described as white and was tall, standing about 5 feet 10 inches. She weighed around 155 pounds, had short brown or light brown hair. Her hair showed no sign of color treatments. The victim appeared to have a suntan at the time of her death.
    She was wearing a tank top with pastel stripes, cutoff 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 extensive dental work.
    Although nobody knew who she was, David Marvin Roth was held responsible for her August 1977 strangling and shooting. He dumped her body in some bushes in south Everett near 112th Street SW and Fourth Avenue W. Blackberry pickers later found her partially decomposed remains.
    Roth was charged in January 1978 after bullets from his .22-caliber rifle matched those found in the victim. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 1979 and stayed in prison until May 2005.
    After his release, Roth cooperated with deputies, detective Dave Heitzman said.
    This is the second time detectives have gone public with information about the victim in an attempt to identify her.
    In 1992, now retired detective John Hinds used a plaster cast of the victim's skull to create a facial reconstruction. At the time, her age was pegged at between 17 and 35. Photos of the reconstruction were distributed widely without success.
    Hinds, who now lives in Thurston County, spent several years after retirement on the East Coast doing forensic artist work in Maine and New Hampshire.
    Information he had retained from her skull, plus new information from the Snohomish County medical examiner, enabled him to revise her likeness.
    Although Roth doesn't know the victim's name, he told detectives what her hair style was like at the time of her death.
    Roth also told detectives that he picked her up hitchhiking on the Bothell-Everett Highway on the east side of Silver Lake. According to court papers, he took her to an isolated spot, drank some beer and killed her when she refused him sex.
    Detectives also released sketches of some of the victim's clothing and the watch on Thursday.
    The case was reopened after a call from the Doe Network, a North American organization that keeps track of missing and unidentified people. The Doe Network wanted to know if someone missing from Eastern Washington could be the 1977 murder victim.
    That person had already been ruled out years ago, but detectives learned that now-retired sheriff's detective Joe Ward already had started to reopen the case. Scharf and Heitzman continued the work Ward started and in March secured a court order to exhume the body.
    "With a person of that age range, somebody is going to miss her," Heitzman said.
    A lot of the missing person databases from that era are incomplete, Scharf said. Different jurisdictions handle things in different ways, and some police agencies used to eliminate people from reported runaway lists when they turned 18.
    Heitzman and Scharf hope the new sketch and information will lead to a solid tip on the victim's identity.
    If not, it may be the last chance to learn her name.
    "This is the best we're going to get," Hinds said.
    Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

    Sketch of homicide victim
    Last edited by Starless; 05-26-2008 at 10:16 PM.

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  9. #29

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe

    The remains of the “Jane Doe” murder victim, who was buried in Everett, were dug up April 1 in hopes of using modern technology to identify her, according to court documents filed Thursday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

    Detectives obtained a court order authorizing exhumation on March 30, documents say.

    David M. Roth was convicted in the woman's murder and has served his sentence. Detectives recently contacted Roth to verify that he has no idea of her identity.

    David Roth is the brother of Randy Roth, who was convicted in the early 1990s of drowning his wife -- a case that attracted international attention.

    Officers in 1992 tried to reconstruct the face of David Roth's victim using sculpting techniques and clay. Photos of the sculpture were widely distributed, but nobody came forward to identify her.

    Sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said the 1992 sculpture may make the woman look much older than she really was, and a sheriff’s artist will put together a new version of her likeness

  10. #30

    Default Re: Articles/ Snohomish Jane Doe


    Jurors will be permitted to hear evidence that a Woodinville man, accused of drowning his wife for insurance money, also collected a large payment when a previous wife fell off a cliff a decade ago, a King County Superior Court judge ruled today.
    Over strenuous arguments by attorneys defending Randy Roth, Judge Frank Sullivan ruled that the evidence may be heard during Roth's first-degree murder trial.
    Senior Deputy Prosecutor Marilyn Brenneman told Sullivan that the 1981 death of Roth's second wife is a critical link in portraying his alleged pattern of committing crimes for insurance money.
    Sullivan already had ruled that the prosecution could introduce evidence that Roth may have faked a burglary at his home to collect insurance.
    Roth is accused of killing Cynthia Roth, his fourth wife, who drowned in Lake Sammamish July 23, 1991. Roth was with her in a small raft, and told police she fell overboard when it was overturned by a wake from a passing speedboat.
    Cynthia Roth had $365,000 in insurance policies naming her husband as beneficiary. He collected $115,000 when his second wife, Janis, fell off a 300-foot cliff while hiking with him in Skamania County in 1981.
    Defense attorney John Muenster argued that allowing the jury to hear evidence on the second wife's death, even though Roth was never charged with any wrongdoing, would be overwhelmingly prejudicial and destroy his chances for a fair trial.
    "There are no witnesses saying that she (Janis) was killed by any other way than slipping off the cliff," Muenster said. "Introducing this testimony could very well be a miscarriage of justice."
    But Brenneman said the Skamania County death is critical in establishing that Roth would kill for money. She said in both incidents, Roth was with his wife when she died, was experiencing marital problems, gave conflicting accounts and stood to gain financially.
    Brenneman also said Roth, a mechanic, showed an odd coolness after both deaths.
    Witnesses at Lake Sammamish said Roth rowed slowly to shore although his wife lay unconscious in the raft. When he arrived at the shore, he allegedly told one of his children to find a lifeguard casually, to avoid "making a scene."
    Roth claims he tried to save Cynthia but could not reach her in time. His attorneys claim the prosecutor's case is based entirely on circumstance and suspicion.
    Brenneman plans to show the jury a videotape of tests conducted by King County police which allegedly shows it is virtually impossible for a speedboat's wake to tip over a raft like the one the Roths used.
    Roth and Cynthia, 34, married on Aug. 1, 1990, after dating for a month. Roth had been married to his second wife for eight months before she died.
    After nearly a week of pretrial motions, Judge Sullivan has sided with the prosecution on nearly every major point intended to paint Roth as a habitual insurance-fraud artist.
    His trial is to begin Feb. 24.
    Sullivan ruled that evidence concerning the alleged fake burglary is relevant to the murder charge because insurance fraud was involved. But the judge sided with the defense that an alleged theft of auto parts from Roth's employer, a car dealership, was not relevant to the murder case.
    Muenster has told Sullivan that the state has "at the very best a weak case" but is attempting to overwhelm the jury by throwing out a "potpourri" of allegations about Roth's supposed insurance fraud.
    Brenneman countered that linking the various evidence is legitimate because it demonstrates a "common scheme": insurance fraud.
    Outside court, Muenster said he may also have to fight the prosecution over evidence about Roth's younger brother, David, being a convicted murderer.
    David Roth, 34, confessed to killing a hitchhiker in August 1977. The woman was never identified and was buried as "Jane Doe."
    David Roth is serving a life sentence at the state prison in Walla Walla. He is eligible for parole in 1997.
    Muenster said Brenneman had advised him that she may ask to include testimony from witnesses who said Roth commented that his brother was "stupid for getting caught."

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