At 7:30am on the morning of May 28, 1974, the body of an unidentified woman was found in the surge surf at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California.
The exact area where the body was located is the jetty at the foot of Linden Avenue and Shoreline Drive.
An autopsy was performed upon Jane Doe’s remains being brought in for examination, where it was determined she had died hours prior by strangulation. There was also evidence present that showed she’d been raped before her death.
When investigators were unable to find a missing persons report matching the description of the unidentified female, she officially became known as Jane Doe No. 40, and the case went cold.
Years later, cold case investigators began to examine the case, as it was originally a candidate for funding through the National Institute of Justice “Solving Cold Cases with DNA” grant. However, as the investigators were unable to locate any evidence from the case that could be submitted for DNA analysis, it became illegible for the grant and was turned over to homicide detectives with the Long Beach Police Department.
The renewed investigation led to a Texas man, who confessed to having aided the alleged killer in dumping Jane Doe’s body back in 1974. According to him, the man’s name was Gary Stamp, who investigators later learnt was still residing in California. When brought in for questioning, Stamp confirmed that he had indeed murdered the woman after meeting her at a bar in Long Beach, which lines up with reported sightings of a woman matching her description being in the area. However, when pressed about her name, Stamp was unable to recall any details, simply stating he believed it was either “Anna” or “Ana”.
Investigators believe Stamp and the unidentified accomplice met Jane Doe in either the aforementioned bar or somewhere in downtown Long Beach, and that the pair were together when they first encountered her.
After Stamp’s confession, the case was submitted to the Los Angeles Court District Attorney’s Office for review, after which an arrest warrant was issued for Stamp. On June 12, 2013, he was scheduled to appear at an arraignment at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Long Beach, but it was stayed and rescheduled for a later date.
In January 2014, Stamp died of cancer while in police custody, before he could stand trial for the young woman’s murder.
Very little has been released regarding the man who helped Stamp dispose of the body. When Stamp was arrested, investigators shared that they would be reviewing the case in order to determine if he too would face charges for his involvement, but there have been no public updates since 2013.
Jane Doe is described as white, with Hispanic heritage. However, there are some communities who believe she may have been Native American. She’s believed to have been between the ages of 18 and 28, meaning her birthdate likely fell between 1946 and 1956. She stood at 5’5″, and while initial weight estimates placed her at around 130 to 135 pounds, recent ones say she most likely weighed between 117 and 118 pounds.
When found, Jane Doe was wearing a pink or peach two-piece Capri pantsuit with white trim around the neck and white tie strings on the front. Some sources have described the pantsuit as being orange “scrubs”. She was also wearing a 3/4 length black faux fur coat with bronze buttons, black bikini panties with strawberry print and calf-high suede black boots. On her finger was a 14-karat white gold engagement ring with a small diamond solitaire, and in her coat pocket were two keys attached to a broken chain, one a house key and the other being a padlock key.
Jane Doe had two distinguishing scars on her body: a 1″ scar on the back of her left thigh and a “T”-shaped burn scar on the top of her left hand, which is described as being a little smaller than a dime. She also had a mole or freckle on the left side of her upper lip and two on the left side of her nose.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Jane Doe’s fingerprints are available for comparison. While some sources claim there to be DNA evidence, the investigating authorities have stated that they have been unable to recover evidence in the case with enough DNA to analyze.
Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Long Beach Police Department at 562-570-7260 or the Los Angeles County Coroner at 323-343-0512. Tips can also be submitted to the California Department of Justice at 916-227-3405 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Image Credit: NCMEC/Carl Koppelman