Bitter Creek Betty

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DISCOVERY:

At approximately 4:25pm on March 1, 1992, a truck driver pulled over at the I-80 turnout in Sweetwater, Sweetwater County, Wyoming in order to switch fuel tanks. While doing so, she happened to look down the embankment, where she noticed what she initially thought to be a couple of trash bags in the snow. However, upon closer examination, she discovered that what she was actually looking at was the facedown, nude body of an unidentified woman. Given it was 1992, the truck driver did not have a cellphone on her and thus radioed her discovery, a message which another driver forwarded to law enforcement.

I-80 is known to be the busiest east-west highway in the United States. The exact area where Jane Doe was located along the westbound lane of the highway is known as Bitter Creek and is located approximately 40 miles east of Rock Springs. Given the location, it has been theorized that her body was dumped from a possible transport truck, after which is came to rest at the bottom of the embankment.

AUTOPSY:

Given the time of year, there was still snow on the ground, meaning Jane Doe’s body was well-preserved – in fact, it took 24 hours for her body to completely thaw. The autopsy showed that she had likely died between one to five months prior to being found and that her cause of death was the result of an ice pick or similar object being thrust into her left nostril, penetrating her sphenoid bone. However, it should be noted that the examination was unable to confirm if this injury occurred before her death or post-mortem, possibly during the retrieval of her body. If it was the cause, it’s likely she died within seconds of being stabbed with the object.

Other injuries were also observed, with signs of strangulation, anal and vaginal sexual assault, and physical trauma to her face and jaw.

INVESTIGATION:

Investigators theorize that Jane Doe was likely murdered elsewhere and that her body was dumped along the  highway between October 1991 and February 1992.

Her fingerprints were submitted to the FBI’s national database. However, no match was found, so they were also submitted to state-level agencies across North America. This too was a dead end.

An aggressive media campaign was launched in the weeks and months after Jane Doe’s discovery. Investigators produced and broadcasted artist renderings of what she may have looked like whilst alive, and they eventually released actual post-mortem photos of her face, after an artist added colour to her eyes.

It’s been noted that Jane Doe had a tattoo of a rose on her right breast, which had Chinese lettering between the stem and the leaf, located just below the bloom. In July 1992, a tipster called in to inform investigators that the tattoo artist who inked the piece was located in Tuscon, Arizona and was known for tattoo truckers who drove through the area. When they travelled to Arizona, they learned that the artist had done the tattoo in June 1991, and through regular questioning and with the help of hypnosis was able to inform them of the following: Jane Doe was a Hispanic transient hitchhiker who spoke without an accent. On the day she got the tattoo, she’d been wearing a brown “peasant” dress with yellow flowers on it.

In March 1992, investigators looked into the possibility that her case was connected to that of the Sheridan County Jane Doe and another murder, which took place in Utah. This would be a point of inquiry that would help to further the investigation, as DNA analysis would later link her case with that of the Sheridan County Jane Doe. Through this, investigators were able to suggest that the murders had been committed by a serial killer whose blood type was Type-O.

It would be years later, in 2020, that the DNA evidence would help solve one aspect of this case: who killed Bitter Creek Betty? It was announced by investigators that Clark Perry Baldwin of Waterloo, Iowa had been arrested in connection to her murder, as well as that of the Sheridan County Jane Doe and another woman, Pamela McCall of Tennessee. The latter murder occurred in 1991, and Baldwin was also charged in relation to the death of McCall’s unborn child. Overall, he is currently facing four first-degree murder charges.

Jane Doe’s remains are currently buried at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

DETAILS:

While initially speculated to have been of Native American heritage, DNA analysis has confirmed that Jane Doe is of European and South American descent. She stood at 5’8″ and weighed between 125 and 130 pounds. Her dark brown-to-black hair was approximately collar length, and she had dark brown or black eyes. While nude when found, she was wearing a gold-coloured necklace and what’s been described as a plain, gold-coloured wedding-type ring on her left ring finger.

As previously stated, she had a tattoo of a rose on her right breast, which has resulted in some dubbing her “Rose Doe”. She also had two scars, a vertical caesarean scar on her abdomen and a 1″ scar on her left calf. The caesarean scar indicates she’d given birth at least once during her lifetime. It has also been noted that her teeth showed signs of dental work.

Pink panties and a pair of sweatpants were located near the body. However, it’s unknown if these clothes belonged to Jane Doe.

RULE OUTS:

1) Sherry D. Bynum, who went missing from Colorado Springs, Colorado on August 8, 1987.

2) Dawn Renee Silvernail, who went missing from Hubbardston, Michigan on November 8, 1991.

3) Pamela Sue Dalton, who went missing from Sikeston, Missouri in 1991.

4) Tiffany Louise Sessions, who went missing from Gainesville, Florida on February 9, 1989.

5) Virginia Lynne Uden, who went missing from Lander, Wyoming on September 12, 1980.

6) Vicki Lynn Nisbett, who went missing from Cedar Park, Texas on December 14, 1991.

7) Nancy Lynn Jason, who went missing from Bethesda, Maryland on July 20, 1977.

8) Pamela Lynne Neal, who went missing from Englewood, California on March 31, 1983.

9) Amber Elizabeth Scholz, who went missing from Rock Springs, Wyoming on November 8, 1981.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Jane Doe’s dentals, DNA and fingerprints are available for comparison.

Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office at either 307-352-6720 or 307-922-5300. Tips can also be called into the Sweetwater County Coroner’s Office at 307-352-6608, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation at 307-777-7181 or 307-672-8979, and FBI ViCap at 1-800-634-4097.

Image Credit: Carl Koppelman/The Doe Network

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