FEBRUARY 22, 2021:
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has uncovered the identity of the unidentified female found deceased along the westbound lanes of I-40 in Coconino County, Arizona on February 14, 1982.
Known as “Valentine Sally“, she has officially been identified as 17-year-old Carolyn Eaton. The identification came as a result of a joint effort between the sheriff’s office, NamUs, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. As efforts to identify her became more rigorous, investigators also contacted the St. Louis County Police Department (Carolyn’s relatives currently reside in St. Louis, Missouri) and the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department, as the teenager had been living in the Missouri suburb at the time of her disappearance.
Those involved in the case utilized familial DNA, which was obtained via a private company “that specializes in DNA processing for submission into online databases for genetic comparison”. With funding from the NCMEC, investigators were able to access the database, identify a relative of Jane Doe and locate potential family members, from whom they collected and tested DNA. The results of the testing verified Jane Doe’s identity.
Carolyn was a teenage runaway who disappeared toward the end of 1981/in early 1982 and her murder is one of the oldest cold cases in Coconino County. Now that she has been identified, investigators are looking to find the person or persons responsible for her death. While no suspects have been identified, detectives with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Squad continue to actively work the case and all available leads.
Those with information regarding Carolyn Eaton’s murder are asked to contact the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at 928-226-5087.
Stories of the Unsolved will update this post as more details emerge.
Image Credit: Carl Koppelman/The Doe Network