San Mateo County Jane Doe (1987)

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At approximately 5:01pm on January 11, 1987, a group of children discovered the remains of a fully-dressed female – possibly a transient – in the bushes in front of 198 Bruno Avenue in Daly City, San Mateo County, California.

The day before her body was found, the deceased was seen buying a pack of cigarettes at Vern’s Diner on Mission Street. She was also seen arguing with an unidentified male by individuals attending a nearby garage sale. However, interviews with people at the diner, as well as those from local businesses and residences, were unable to provide a name.

*The Mercury News has since reported the deceased was found by two men crossing Bruno Avenue. However, the majority of sources report she was discovered by children.


An autopsy conducted on the remains found that Jane Doe had died just hours prior to her body being found. The cause of death was deemed to be murder by strangulation and forced overdose, as she had the anti-depressants desipramine and imipramine in her system. There were no signs she was a habitual drug user.

There was no evidence to suggest she’d been sexually assaulted.


The deceased is described as a White female between the ages of 25 and 30. She stood between 5’2″ and 5’4″ and weighed approximately 95 to 105 pounds. She had shoulder-length, straight brown hair that was covered in dandruff, and her underarms and legs were unshaven. She had brown eyes, with a possible cataract in the right one. There was a 2″ appendectomy scar on the righter lower area of her abdomen and signs she’d given birth at least once in her life. She was a smoke, her hands were worn from manual labour and she had no fillings in her teeth. However, it was noted one of her teeth was impacted or un-erupted.

When found, Jane Doe was wearing a New York grey pullover; a blue velour shirt with black stripes; a hooded lavender sweatshirt; a grey Windy Weather jacket with a hood and sheepskin lining; blue Eye Stopper jeans; grey sweatpants; blue underwear; a blue bandana scarf; a pair of brown socks; a pair of black socks; a pair of white ankle socks with red and blue stripes; and brown suede shoes with white laces.

*According to NamUs, the New York grey pullover could have been a teal long-sleeve sweater and the black socks were a second brown pair.

Found with the deceased were a matchbook from Vern’s Diner; two packs of Winston cigarettes, one of which was new; and a partially-labelled prescription container with the name “Long’s Drugs” in Concord, California. Near the body were two empty medication containers with non-readable labels, numerous pills and plastic bags, an empty thermos, a Coke bottle with unidentified liquid within and an empty Coors bottle.

It’s been theorized Jane Doe may have been a victim of serial killer Joseph Naso, who killed four prostitutes in the 1970s and ’90s. His victims – Pamela Parsons, Roxene Roggasch, Tracy Tafoya and Carmen Colon – had been strangled and their bodies dumped in rural areas around Northern California.

According to investigators, Naso came on their radar following his arrest in April 2011. They began to notice similarities between Jane Doe’s case and those of the four murdered women. As of 2011, they planned to send physical evidence to the local crime lab for testing. If DNA belonging to someone other than the victim was found, they would obtain a subpoena to collect Naso’s DNA.

The results of the testing are currently unknown.


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

Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Daly City Police Department at 650-991-8119. Tips can also be called into the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office at either 650-312-5223 or 650-312-5562.

Image Credit: Carl Koppelman/Unidentified Wiki

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