Long Beach John Doe (1978)

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DISCOVERY:

At approximately 4:15am on June 3, 1978, the body of a young male was found lying face down on Division Street, a half-block east of Corona Street, in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California.

According to investigators, it appeared the deceased had been killed elsewhere and his body dumped at the location.

AUTOPSY:

An autopsy performed on the remains found the deceased had only been dead a few hours prior to being found. While it initially looked like he’d died of a drug overdose, it was later determined he’d been strangled to death.

DETAILS:

The deceased is described as a White male with a light complexion, between the ages of 15 and 19. He had a slim build, standing between 5’7″ and 5’1″ and weighing approximately 120 to 145 pounds. He had brown hair that fell just below his ears, hazel eyes and a 3/8″ scar located approximately half an inch above his right eyebrow. There were also freckles visible across his face.

When found, John Doe was wearing a size 42-44 blue t-shirt with a pocket, blue Levi’s jeans, a brown leather belt, blue socks, and blue Redwings tennis shoes with white stripes. He also had the faint imprint of a stamp on the back of his right hand, which read “PAID”, indicating he may have been at a bar or social gathering prior to his murder.

There are some who believe the deceased was a victim of serial killer Randy Kraft, better known as the Scorecard Killer, based on the fact his body was discovered less than a mile from where Kraft typically picked up his victims. Kraft is suspected of killing between 16 and 67 people in Southern California from 1971 to 1983. He gained his infamous moniker after his arrest, after investigators discovered a coded list containing cryptic references to his victims.

In May 1989, he was convicted of a handful of the murders and sentenced to death, and is currently imprisoned at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.

Despite the similarities between this case and those of Kraft’s victims, there are certain characteristics that were absent. Kraft typically sexually assaulted and strangled his victims before dismembering them and leaving their nude bodies along various highways. While the deceased was strangled, he was found fully-clothed, and there is no mention in the autopsy report of a sexual assault. However, it should be noted that a confirmed victim of Krafts, the 1980 Marion County John Doe, was not sexually assaulted or dismembered, and was found wearing all his clothes.

EXCLUSIONS:

1) Andrew Paul Mantheiy, who went missing from Redding, California on May 19, 1977.

2) Christopher Martin King, who went missing from Rialto, California on August 2, 1974.

3) Daniel Gerard Hoffer, who went missing from Los Angeles, California on May 28, 1975.

4) David Arthur Stack, who went missing from Broomfield, California on June 1, 1976. His body was discovered at a sanitation site in Wendover, Utah on June 10, 1976, but wasn’t positively identified until August 2015.

5) Donald Robert Dumas, who went missing from Rosemead, California on July 14, 1971.

6) Jean Vincent, who went missing from Flagstaff, Arizona in December 1978. His body was discovered the same year in Oklahoma, but weren’t positively identified until May 2016.

7) John E. Hundley, who went missing from Fairfax, Ohio on October 15, 1964.

8) Jose Bladimar Espinoza, who went missing from Los Angeles, California on April 13, 1977.

9) Patrick Albert Wright, who went missing from San Francisco, California on December 5, 1975.

10) Ralph Hampton Miller, who went missing from Lakeland, Florida on September 19, 1970.

11) Robert Curtis Coe, who went missing from Austin, Texas on March 12, 1978.

12) Roger Merton Day, who went missing from Porter, Maine on October 4, 1973.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

John Doe’s fingerprints and DNA are available for comparison.

Those with information regarding the identity of John Doe are asked to contact the Long Beach Police Department at 562-570-5703 or 562-570-7260. Tips can also be called into the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office at either 323-343-0512 or 323-343-0754.

Image Credit: NCMEC/Carl Koppelman

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