Ledyard Jane Doe

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BACKGROUND:

Gustavous Lee Carmichael was born on August 3, 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia. During his early adult years, he was known for being a serial bank robber, hitting numerous banks throughout the eastern United States. In 1970, he had robbed a bank in New Jersey, stealing a total of $60,000. Unfortunately for Carmichael, he would be apprehended for the crime not long after, resulting in him being detained by the authorities.

Carmichael had a long criminal record, which his rap sheet showed. He had been convicted of numerous crimes, including burglary, kidnapping, interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicle, assault to murder, attempted breaking and entering, larceny of auto, assault and battery, and armed robbery. He was also known to use various aliases to disguise his real identity, such as Shawn Liam Thompson, David Harold Skaggs, Frank Powers, James Leroy Byrne, James Leroy Burns, David Keating, Frank J. Howard and James L. Billotte Jr. It’s believed all these identities are those of real persons.

While being transported from a Massachusetts state prison to federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, Carmichael and another inmate escaped the custody of the officers guarding them and went on the lam. Upon his escape, a federal warrant was issued by the FBI for Carmichael, citing he had been charged with escape, assaulting a federal officer, unlawful possession or receipt of firearms, and theft of government property.

While on the lam, it’s believed Carmichael met up with an unknown woman, who he would later develop a relationship with. The last time either was seen alive was in Ledyard, Connecticut.

DISCOVERY:

In early 1974, police received a tip regarding two murders that had occurred at a residence on Shewville Road in Ledyard. On May 30 of that year, they converged upon the location, where they discovered the decomposed bodies of two individuals, one male and one female. They had been buried in the wooded area behind the residence.

It was noted that the female deceased had been wrapped a blanket.

Sources have given varying information regarding where the bodies were located. Some claim they were buried in Hartford, Connecticut, while others cite Stonnington, Connecticut. However, newspaper clippings from the time state Ledyard as the actual location.

AUTOPSY:

Upon the bodies being brought in for examination, it was determined that the pair had died as the result of homicides, as each had sustained gunshot wounds. In particular, the female had received a gunshot would to the face, resulting in the bullet striking just blowing her nose, destroying her upper dentition.

It was determined that the pair had been murdered sometime in late 1970. A subsequent investigation would narrow this further to December 31, 1970.

INVESTIGATION:

An investigation into the murders revealed the home behind which the two had been buried belonged to Richard DeFreitas. He, along with another man named Donald Brant, would eventually admit to their involvement in the crime.

According to DeFreitas, he, Brant and another man, James Gardner, owned numerous safe-house apartments that were used to help shield underworld fugitives from authorities. In 1970, Carmichael and the unidentified female came to DeFreitas and set up house in Ledyard, after which they took on the identities of Dirk and Lorraine Stahl. DeFreitas’ wife, Joanne, helped open up a bank account for the pair.

However, things soon took a turn not long after the two arrived in Ledyard. According to DeFreitas, he, Gardner and Brant were splitting $30,000 taken from a bank heist in Newport when the unidentified woman voiced some concerns she’d had. The date was December 28, 1970. After hearing what she had to say, and worried she would divulge important information, DeFreitas decided she needed to be removed the situation. However, he knew Carmichael wouldn’t allow for her to be murdered, so he decided to kill both individuals.

Their murders occurred on New Year’s Eve in 1970.

During their investigation, police discovered a phone bill that reportedly belonged to the unidentified woman. It shows she made calls to numerous locations: Nashville, Tennessee; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Langhorne, Pennsylvania; Bristol, Pennsylvania; Levittown, Pennsylvania; Hightstown, New Jersey; Caldwell, New Jersey; Allentown, New Jersey; Burlington, New Jersey; Wilmington, Delaware; Buffalo, New York; and New York City, New York. She had also placed a call from Neward, New Jersey.

However, despite how detailed the phone bill was, it didn’t offer any details into the woman’s identity.

Police in Trenton, New Jersey were able to develop a composite sketch of the unidentified woman, based on a description provided to them by an acquaintance.

DETAILS:

Jane Doe is described as white, and is believed to have been between 18 and 30 years of age. She stood at 5’2″, and while her weight is unknown, it’s estimated to have been between 110 and 115 pounds. Her hair was either brown or auburn in colour, and her eye colour remains unknown.

Due to her gunshot wound, she had no maxilla, which is the bone that forms the upper portion of the jaw. However, it was noted that one of her teeth had two separate occlusal amalgams and one was mesially inclined.

When her body was discovered, she was wearing a gold or tan sweater, a tan leather vest that is said to have a “wet look” to it, a brown tweed skirt, brown granny boots that went up to her knees, and a yellow raincoat. She also had three pieces of jewelry on her, including an inexpensive ring with an imitation emerald stone, a wood-carved broach or pendant that featured a figure with an abstract ceremonial head, and a class ring. The latter, in particular, had been of great interest to investigators, as it features the letters “JHNS” or “JNHS” and has two engravings on the side, “ILN” and “1917”.

Lady Clairol hair roller set was also found with the body.

While her real name is unknown, it’s believed Jane Doe went by numerous aliases, including “Lorraine Stahl”, “Connie” and “Sandy”. She was known to drive around in a 1964 green Oldsmobile with either Massachusetts or Maine plates. This vehicle would later be found dumped in Hartford, Connecticut with a Maine inspection sticker on the license plate.

As aforementioned, she was last seen travelling with Gustavous Carmichael, and is believed to have been his girlfriend. She was last known to have been working in New York City.

While investigators aren’t sure where she’s from, she believed to have relatives in either Tennessee, West Virginia or the Carolinas. She could have also been from New York or Maine.

RULE OUTS:

1) Rosemary Calandriello, who went missing from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey on August 25, 1969.

2) Cathy Moulton, who went missing from Portland, Maine on September 24, 1971.

3) Denise Sheehy, who went missing from Queens, New York on July 7, 1970.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Jane Doe’s dental records and DNA are available for comparison.

Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are being asked to contact the State of CT Chief Medical Examiner’s Office at either 860-679-3980 or 860-573-8583.

Image Credit: Trenton Police Department

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