On July 10, 1991, Jane Doe was coaxed out of the apartment she was sharing with her friend, Andrea Cooksey, after her boyfriend, James McAlphin, called her and offered her money. According to Cooksey, she accepted the offer, as she’d wanted to purchase presents for her children, whom she was not living with at the time.
Jane Doe walked to the Whitehall Motel, located at 840 Hillsboro Street in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas, where McAlphin was residing. Before being demolished, the motel was known for illicit drug activity and prostitution. When she arrived, she went to room 121, where she and McAlphin got into an argument.
A neighbour named Roy Charles Menon had witnessed part of the pair’s interaction when he stopped by to ask that McAlphin return some cassette tapes he’d borrowed. Jane Doe had been the one to answer the door and had told Menon to speak with McAlphin, before making her way out of the room. McAlphin followed her out to the parking lot. After hitting her, he yelled, “Get back in the room, bitch,” and dragged her back into the motel by her hair. After a brief argument, Menon heard a gunshot, something which was also heard by Cooksey, who had been walking by the motel at the time.
Upon hearing the gunshot, Cooksey ran to room 121, where she saw her friend lying of the floor, dead. After this, witnesses recalled seeing McAlphin get into his car and flee the scene.
An autopsy was performed upon Jane Doe’s body being brought to the Union County Coroner’s Office. There, it was confirmed she had died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head. It was also noted that she had a broken neck.
When found, Jane Doe had on her an Arkansas ID card, which featured the name “Cheryl Ann Wick” and a birthdate of November 13, 1970. Investigators worked to locate her parents in Minneapolis, Minnesota, only to learn that the real Cheryl Ann Wick was alive and didn’t know who Jane Doe was. As such, it’s believed the deceased had stolen Cheryl’s identity, as Cheryl told them her SSN and ID cards were stolen while she was working as a dancer at a Minneapolis club called Party Time.
Numerous other items were found in Jane Doe’s possession, including random snapshots; a flyer from Boyd Sound Studio in Wylie, Texas and menus from the following restaurants and venues: Phillips Waterside, The Raven, Worrell Brothers and one from Norfolk, Virginia. Her personal journal was also located, as well as a Bible, which featured a list of names of a family living in Irving, Texas, with whom she’d lived with for a time. She had told the family – Willie James Stroud, Sharon Yvette Stroud, Ladonna Elaine Stroud, Johnny Lee Stroud, Viola Elizabeth Ross Stroud, Donna Jean Stroud, Bobbie Joan Stroud and Willie James Dantzler Sr. – that her name was Cheryl Ann Wick, and that she had moved to Irving from Minneapolis and was a runaway from Louisiana.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that the Stroud family could have been relatives of McAlphin.
A detective found a copy of a letter sent from the police to the FBI, which stated that her name was “Kelly Lee Car”, aged 24, who was wanted in Virginia and along the east coast of the United States for bank robbery. This is something she’d come forward with after an arrest.
Soon after her death, McAlphin turned himself into police and plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, instead of the second-degree battery and first-degree murder charges he’d initially faced. This despite him claiming Jane Doe had died by suicide. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but only served 12. It’s believed he was Jane Doe’s pimp, a claim he has frequently denied, and he’s known to be a habitual offender with an extensive criminal record. Upon being released from prison, he continued to be arrested and convicted of various crimes, including firearms possession, aggravated assault and domestic battery.
Investigators hoped McAlphin would be able to help identify Jane Doe, but he refused to offer up a name without a cash payment of $4,000. He did, however, say her identity would help bring new light to other cold cases. To help bolster his claims, he shared minute details of her life, including that she had a mother and sister who lived in Florida and that she’d been working on the streets since the age of 16, when the man she fell in love with forced her into prostitution in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. By the time she was an adult, McAlphin claims she was willingly participating in the trade. He further shared that she’d avoided being trafficked to Mexico by starting a relationship with a pimp named Jeffrey “JJ” Davis in Dallas and later with another one who went by the name of Tyrone.
According to McAlphin, Jane Doe used various aliases because she felt her lifestyle would embarrass those from her past. He claimed she was older than him and that she’d had two children, whom she’d left with “someone” in Fort Worth. He also said that she had been friends with Julie Ann Moseley, Lisa Renee Wilson and Mary Rachel Trlica, who were kidnapped from the Seminary South Shopping Center in Fort Worth on December 23, 1974. He said the four girls grew up in captivity in the area and that Julie, in particular, had died during childbirth.
Police have dismissed McAlphin’s claims and have turned to Jane Doe’s possessions in an attempt to identify her. Given the revelation she wasn’t Cheryl Ann Wick, her SSN and ID card were dismissed. Unfortunately, her possessions did not help them in regards to her identity. They did, however, allow them to develop a timeline of her movements.
In early 1990, Jane Doe was already going by the name Cheryl Ann Wick and was working at a KFC restaurant in Dallas. It was there that her and McAlphin began their relationship, and it’s said she’d frequently visit the emergency room due to the beatings McAlphin would give her. The frequencies of her visits would come to concern the local authorities.
When August 1990 rolled around, she was staying with a boyfriend – possibly McAlphin – with a couple named Gail and Tyrone. The location is unknown, but police do know that Gail’s mother resided in Fresno, California and had recently suffered a heart attack upon Jane Doe residing with her daughter, this gleamed from excerpts from her journal.
December 31, 1990 would be the start of numerous arrests. On that date, she was arrested in Dallas for prostitution while living at the La Casita Motel at 4300 Harry Hines Boulevard, a well-known destination for prostitutes. A month later, on January 26, 1991, she was again arrested in Dallas, an arrest that was followed by another on February 8 of that year, when she was booked for public lewdness at the Carousel Motel, located at 3211 Forest Lane in Garland Texas. Her final documented arrest was in May 1991, which occurred in Minneapolis due to her passing bad cheques.
In June 1991, Jane Doe was living in El Dorado with Andrea Cooksey, after a brief stint in Shreveport, Louisiana. This was during a time when she’d left McAlphin. According to Cooksey, Jane Doe had told her that she was a stripper from out of town and that her children were being raised by her estranged mother. She was able to learn that one of the children was a female. During this time, McAlphin would frequently reach out to Jane Doe and threaten her for moving out and leaving him.
Investigators also learnt that she’d told a story about robbing truck drivers with the aid of an African American male. She claimed she’d lure drivers when while they were at various highway truck stops, and she’d said that one of these interactions had resulted in the death of a driver. This lead to the speculation that she’d been involved in the murder of Dwayne McCorkendale, a truck driver who was found murdered on November 12, 1988. Witnesses recalled seeing a white female with two men, one white and the other African American, driving a brown Ford Pinto near the scene. However, investigators were unable to establish ties between the two cases.
DNA and fingerprint tests turned up no matches.
In 2012, flyers were distributed throughout the Virginia Beach area, in the hopes someone would come forward with information regarding Jane Doe’s identity.
In 2019, investigators contacted the DNA Doe Project, which led to her autosomal DNA being uploaded to GEDmatch. A genealogist was able to locate a second cousin, Christina Tilford, who was living in Alabama. While she didn’t recognize Jane Doe, she did say there was a familial resemblance. The genealogist working the case was also able to identify her father as a descendent of Daniel Wood and Mamie Carter, who lived in Virginia and had nine children between 1916 and 1936. The couple, now deceased, were Christina’s great-grandparents.
Christina had uploaded her DNA to GEDmatch in 2018 in the hopes of tracing her family’s roots. She told investigators that no one in the Wood family knew about Jane Doe’s existence, leading them to believe she was possibly born out of wedlock. Until they’re able to uncover her actual name, the family has chosen to refer to her as “Memory”.
Jane Doe is described as white, and is believed to have been between the ages of 18 and 30, meaning she was likely born between 1960 and 1973. She stood anywhere from 5’10” to 5’11” and weighed approximately 150 to 162 pounds. When found, her hair was shoulder-length at 9″ long and appeared to naturally be light brown and grown out. There is evidence it had previously been professionally cut and dyed a frosted-blonde colour, with strawberry blonde shades throughout. She had blue eyes.
When found, Jane Doe was wearing a white t-shirt; acid-wash blue jeans; a black belt; white ankle socks; white tennis shoes; and a gold-coloured, chain-type bracelet on her right arm. She also had two ponytail holders in her hair.
She is said to have had a distinctively large nose and naturally arched eyebrows. She had freckles across her cheeks, nose and on her shoulders, with a small birthmark or scar beneath her left breast. Her anterior abdominal wall was flat with a remote scar. From those who knew her, investigators learnt she was known to apply heavy makeup, in an attempt to look younger than she actually was.
Police have determined she resided in Dallas, Shreveport and Little Rock before she died. She may have ties to Minneapolis and may have frequented the Virginia Beach oceanfront during the mid-to-late 1980s. There is also evidence she spent time in California, but it’s been determined she spent the last years of her life in the eastern half of the United States.
As aforementioned, she went by several aliases, including “Kelly Carr”, “Kelly Karr”, “Cheryl Ann Wick”, “Mercedes”, “Sharon Wiley”, “Shannon Wiley”, “Cheryl Kaufman” and “Helen Stenner”, and was known to sometimes spell Cheryl with an “S”. Investigators believe she may have not gone by her true name because she was possibly a run away from Florida or Oklahoma, with some speculating she could have run away from home when she was 11 years old. According to McAlphin’s niece, she would call Jane Doe “Aunty Cheryl” whenever they came into contact when she was a child.
McAlphin is believed to have gone by the aliases of “Ice McAlphin”, “Mark McAlphin” and “Julian Starr”.
Along with going by various names, Jane Doe also have varying accounts of her past. According to her friends, she’d said she was from Florida, and had told others numerous stories, including that she had been arrested at one point, had one or two children, and had possibly been involved in a bank robbery on the east coast. She’d told those she came into contact with that she was in the witness protection program and that her father was in the Mafia, but investigators have not been able to substantiate these claims.
Some have speculated that she’d worked as a prostitute and on the fringes of society in order to earn money to send to her children.
Jane Doe was known to volunteer with the Salvation Army in El Dorado, where she shared a story about living in the homeless shelter on 1100 Cadiz Street in Dallas. While there, she said her daughter was taken by Child Protective Services and that she was unable to get her back because she was living under a false identity. Unfortunately, this information could not be verified, as records from this period have been destroyed.
From 1990 to 1991, she worked as a topless dancer. The club she’s believed to have worked at while in Little Rock is called Prime Time.
1) Janet Landry Brice, who went missing from east Baton Rouge, Louisiana on August 15, 1982.
2) Sherry D. Bynum, who went missing from Colorado Springs, Colorado on August 8, 1987.
3) Tracy Ann Byrd, who went missing from Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania on March 7, 1983.
4) Melinda Karen Creech, who went missing from Anderson, Indiana on September 5, 1979.
5) Linda Sue Davis, who went missing from Claremore, Oklahoma on January 7, 1976.
6) Rebecca Jean Dunn, who went missing from San Diego, California on April 1, 1979.
7) Deborah Kim Green, who went missing from Lake Worth, Florida on May 30, 1982.
8) Shelley Corinne Hoke, who went missing from Phoenix, Arizona on June 28, 1991.
9) Wendy Lynn Huggy, who went missing from Clearwater, Florida on April 7, 1982.
10) Rochelle Maria Ihm, who went missing from Phoenix, Arizona on July 13, 1986.
11) Tricia J. Kellett, who went missing from Chicago, Illinois on May 7, 1982.
12) Kim Sue Leggett, who went missing from Mercedes, Texas on October 9, 1984.
13) Laurie Renee Lucas, who went missing from Aurora, Colorado on June 8, 1990.
14) Stacie Elisabeth Madison, who went missing from Carrollton, Texas on March 20, 1988.
15) Michelle Meredith Mulcahy, who went missing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 7, 1979.
16) Judith Erin O’Donnell, who went missing from Baltimore, Maryland on November 30, 1980.
17) Tracy Lynn Ramsey, who went missing from Kansas City, Missouri on October 30, 1984.
18) Lisa Marie Sexton, who went missing from Elyria, Ohio on May 1, 1981.
19) Amanda Gail Slaughter, who went missing from Orangefield, Texas on April 28, 1991. Her body was discovered in August 1993, two days after she was murdered by her then-boyfriend, but wasn’t positively ID’d until February 2012.
20) Susan Renee Smalley, who went missing from Carrollton, Texas on March 20, 1988.
21) Pamela Dawn Tinsley, who went missing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on April 13, 1986.
22) Darlene Ann Webb, who went missing from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 22, 1983.
23) Sheri Lynn White, who went missing from Fairbanks, Alaska on February 14, 1990.
24) Lisa Renee Wilson, who went missing from Fort Worth, Texas on December 23, 1974.
25) Elaine Allenbach, who went missing from Vancouver, British Columbia on March 15, 1986.
26) Veronica Helen Brewer, who went missing from Missouri City, Texas on July 1, 1986.
27) Phyllis E. Brewer, who went missing from Lowellville, Ohio on June 13, 1981.
28) Myrisha Faye Campbell, who went missing from Goliad, Texas on September 6, 1958.
29) Misty Donna Copsey, who went missing from Tacoma, Washington on September 17, 1992.
30) Jeannette Gesela Drzewiecki, who went missing from Odessa, Texas on September 13, 1982.
31) Elizabeth Ann Gill, who went missing from Cape Girardeau, Missouri on June 13, 1965.
32) Cynthia Robin Gooding, who went missing from Marathon, Texas on August 20, 1974.
33) Cheryl Ann Moser Iacovone, who went missing from Secane, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1977.
34) Kimberly Ann Kahler, who went missing from Marina Del Rey, California on January 1, 1980.
35) Winnie Janette Kersey, who went missing from Jacksonville, Florida on December 3, 1982.
36) Cindy Irene King, who went missing from Grants Pass, Oregon on July 19, 1977.
37) Jackie Lynn Leslie, who went missing from Mesa, Arizona on July 31, 1974.
38) Cathleen Marie Martin, who went missing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 13, 1987.
39) Keli Kay McGinness, who went missing from Seattle, Washington on June 28, 1983.
40) Julie Ann Moseley, who went missing from Fort Worth, Texas on December 23, 1974.
41) Leigh Marine Occhi, who went missing from Tupelo, Mississippi on August 27, 1992.
42) Carey Mae Parker, who went missing from Quinlan, Texas on March 17, 1991.
43) Roxanne Marie Sims, who went missing from Portland, Oregon in 1977.
44) Cathy Ann Smith, who went missing from Kansas City, Missouri on July 1, 1980.
45) Tammy Rose Surdam, who went missing from St. Charles, Missouri on August 1, 1979.
46) Patricia Lynn Taylor, who went missing from Owasso, Oklahoma on August 31, 1981.
47) Michelle Doherty Thomas, who went missing from Santa Fe, Texas on October 5, 1985.
48) Mary Rachel Trlica, who went missing from Fort Worth, Texas on December 23, 1974.
49) Darci Renae Warde, who went missing from Seattle, Washington on April 24, 1990.
50) Lisa Joy White, who went missing from Vernon, Connecticut on November 1, 1974.
51) Joanne Williams, who went missing from Scranton, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1978.
52) Ann Gotlib, who went missing from Louisville, Kentucky on June 1, 1983.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Jane Doe’s DNA, dentals and fingerprints are available for comparison.
Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the El Dorado Police Department at 870-881-4800 or the Union County Coroner’s Office at 870-864-1903. Tips can also be called into the Arkansas State Crime Lab at 501-227-5747 or anonymously through El Dorado Crime Stoppers at 870-863-4636.
Image Credit: The Doe Network/Reddit