Case Updates: 2019

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Over the past year, Stories of the Unsolved has covered roughly 64 unsolved disappearances, murders and deaths. The volume of cases has meant that, unfortunately, some case updates have been missed. The following is a master post, featuring updates from the cases covered throughout 2019.

ANNIE DOE

As was shared earlier this year, Annie Doe has been identified as 16-year-old Anne Marie “Annie” Lehman, who went missing from Aberdeen, Washington in either the winter or spring of 1971. The identification was made by the DNA Doe Project, with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office making the announcement on March 12, 2019.

Currently, the circumstances regarding how Anne ended up in Oregon are unclear, as are the cause and manner of her death. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

BRYCE LASPISA

In August 2019, sheriffs in Los Angeles County renewed their requests for information regarding Bryce Laspisa’s disappearance. Bryce went missing from Castaic, California on August 30, 2013.

CAITLIN POTTS

During a search for Caitlin Potts in August 2019, a pit was discovered in a forested area just east of Enderby, located near Cawley Road and Mabel Lake Road. While it was initially thought to have been a burial site related to Caitlin’s disappearance, it was later discovered to be a hole left over from a construction project that had been filled with an unknown liquid. It has since been filled by the RCMP.

Caitlin went missing from Enderby, British Columbia on February 22, 2016. Those investigating the case believe her to have been the victim of a homicide.

EBONY GIDDENS

In October 2019, Ebony Giddens’ ex-boyfriend, Malcolm Jackson, stood trial in Columbus, Georgia on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated stalking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The charges were in relation to an assault on Ebony that took place on March 9, 2018. A jury deliberated and found him guilty, with the judge sentencing him to a total of 35 years: 20 years for the assault, 5 years for the firearm possession and 10 years for stalking. Each sentence was the maximum penalty available.

During the trial, it was revealed that Ebony had confided in a cousin about being pregnant with Jackson’s child. This was only a short time before she went missing on March 11, 2018.

EKLUTNA ANNIE

During the research phase, a name was overlooked for the list of women ruled out as being Eklutna Annie. Along with the three already mentioned in the article, Karen Dean Evan, who went missing from Anchorage, Alaska on May 1, 1980, has been ruled out.

The skeletal remains of an unidentified woman were discovered in Eklutna, Alaska on July 17, 1980. While it’s the belief Jane Doe was a victim of serial killer Robert Hansen, her identity remains unknown.

*Karen Dean Evan has been added to the list of rule outs featured in the article*

GRUNDY COUNTY JANE DOE

Upon the DNA Doe Project picking up Jane Doe’s case, it was discovered that a relative of the deceased is currently living in the Alabama area. The first cousin or niece is unsure who Jane Doe is, but is currently in talks with others in the family to see if they know her identity.

As well, during the research phase for this article, numerous rule outs were overlooked. The following are women who have been ruled out as being the Grundy County Jane Doe:

1) Katrina Ashford, who went missing from San Rafael, California on July 11, 1972.

2) Tracy Davenport, who went missing from San Rafael, California on April 27, 1973.

3) Catherine Davidson, who went missing from Sawyer, Michigan on September 1, 1973.

4) Francis Loretta Heath Wells, who went missing from Crossett, Arkansas on August 13, 1974.

5) Ila Maynard, who went missing from Greensboro, North Carolina on December 4, 1974.

6) Consuella Cash, who went missing from Los Angeles, California on January 3, 1975.

7) Alice Jefferson, who went missing from Fort Campbell, Kentucky in either 1974 or 1975.

8) Sherise Magee, who went missing from Las Vegas, Nevada on August 1, 1975.

9) Marion Hawkins, who went missing from Los Angeles, California on October 5, 1975.

10) Mabel Andrews, who went missing from Orlando, Florida on January 16, 1976.

11) Brenda Moore, who went missing from Austin, Texas on March 7, 1976.

12) Margie Phillips, who went missing from Fort Myers, Florida on April 22, 1976.

13) Jennifer Barton, who went missing from Austin, Texas on May 16, 1976.

14) Debra Stewart, who went missing from Austin, Texas on May 21, 1976.

15) Barbara Jolly, who went missing from Seattle, Washington on August 22, 1976.

16) Ivy Matory, who went missing from Compton, California on July 21, 1977.

17) Violet Matory, who went missing from Compton, California on July 21, 1977.

18) Yolanda Williams, who went missing from Los Angeles County, California on July 19, 1977.

19) Susan Redding, who went missing from Seattle, Washington on April 8, 1975.

*All names have been added to the original article*

GWINNETT COUNTY JANE DOE

This past June, the Gwinnett County Police Department was able to successfully identify Jessica Ashley Manchini as the Gwinnett County Jane Doe. They were able to make the positive identification after re-testing a tag found on the suitcase in which Jessica’s body was found, after which dental and medical records were able to give a confirmation.

Jessica had been reported missing by her mother in December 2014, after she hadn’t been in contact with the family. Currently, her cause of death is unknown, as are the circumstances surrounding how her body ended up where it was discovered.

HILLSBOROUGH JANE DOE (1990)

In September 2019, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office renewed their requests for information regarding the identity of the Hillsborough Jane Doe. Her remains were discovered by an inmate work crew along I-40 in Hillsborough, North Carolina on September 19, 1990.

JAYME CLOSS

As was shared back in January, Jayme Closs was found alive in Douglas County, Wisconsin. Her abductor, Jake Patterson, plead guilty to two counts of intentional homicide in relation to the murder of her parents, James and Denise Closs, for which he received two life sentences. He also plead guilty to one count of kidnapping in relation to Jayme’s abduction, for which he received 25 years in prison and 15 years parole.

In August 2019, Jayme’s childhood home in Barron, Wisconsin was demolished and she went to live with her aunt and uncle. That same month, Patterson, who is serving out his sentence at a corrections facility in New Mexico, was involved in a prison fight with another inmate. Footage of the altercation wasn’t released to the public until November 2019.

JENNIFER HILLIER-PENNEY

It recently came to light that Jennifer Hillier-Penney had taken her estrange husband, Dean Penney, off her life insurance policy two weeks before her disappearance, meaning he would no longer be a beneficiary. The information was released by her daughter, Marina. The RCMP will not comment on the existence of the life insurance policy or what it could mean for the case.

Jennifer went missing from St. Anthony, Newfoundland on November 30, 2016. She had been watching her daughter, Deana, while her estranged husband was away on a hunting trip.

KAYLA BERG

Investigators conducted a search in October 2019 of the Nicolet National Forest in Langlade County, Wisconsin. The 11-mile search lasted two days and involved sheriff’s deputies from Langlade and Oconto counties, the National Forest Service and police dogs from K9 Search Solutions. Investigators wouldn’t comment on the type of information that prompted the search, but have shared that nothing of value was uncovered.

Kayla Berg was last seen in Wausau, Wisconsin on August 11, 2009.

KEESHAE JACOBS

Keeshae Jacobs’ mother, Toni Jacobs, recently created the Keeshae Jacobs Foundation, which is dedicated to helping the families of those who are currently missing. The foundation provides counselling and search aid, and it hopes to spread awareness regarding the severity of missing persons cases.

Keeshae went missing from Richmond, Virginia on September 26, 2016. She was last seen by her friends in the 3100 block of Broad Street, in the Church Hill district of the city.

LADY OF THE DUNES

In April 2019, prosecutors in Cape Cod announced that Jane Doe’s case would be one of two examined through the use of a new method of DNA analysis. This method would use genealogy in order to generate new leads in cold cases. However, one of the issues faced by investigators is that Jane Doe’s remains were embalmed, meaning that the extraction of some forms of DNA could have been hurt.

The remains of Jane Doe were discovered at Race Point Dunes in Massachusetts on July 26, 1974. There are numerous theories surrounding her death and who she was when alive, but her identity remains unknown.

MARION COUNTY JANE DOE

As was shared earlier this year, it was announced that the Marion County Jane Doe had been identified as 23-year-old Dana Nicole Lowrey of Minden, Louisiana. The positive identification was made by the DNA Doe Project, which worked closely with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. The match was made after a DNA sample was taken from one of her daughters and compared to that of the unidentified remains.

Dana was last heard from in May 2006 after she stopped contacting her daughters. Incarcerated serial killer Shawn Grate confessed to her murder, saying he killed her after she didn’t deliver his mother her magazine subscription.

MOLLY BISH

This past summer, investigators announced they were performing new DNA testing on items related to Molly Bish’s murder. The items tested were found at Comins Pond, where she disappeared, and Whiskey Hill, where her remains were discovered. While DNA testing has been unsuccessful in the past, her family is hoping this new round of testing will lead to phenotype DNA testing and possibly a physical profile of Molly’s killer.

As well, Molly’s case was one of many unsolved murders that were recently reviewed by the Massachusetts State Police’s new Unresolved Case Unit.

Did we miss an update? Let us know by sending a tweet to @SOTUnsolved or contacting us via email at storiesoftheunsolved@gmail.com.

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