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  1. #91
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Porrtland, Oregon
    Before adding my two cents here, I want to summarize what I think the consensus is. This reference is a forgery, & probably wouldn't fool anyone who read it skeptically. And I suspect anyone who thinks it's a forgery also believes it was written by LEK, & it makes most sense to assume she wrote it soon after arriving in Dallas. But as something she wrote, I believe it reveals a few things about her.

    First, it provides a clear date when she made the Dallas area her home: July 1988. This is a date that is confirmed in LEK's Passport application, where she writes that she has been in Dallas since "07 0 1988". This letter of reference cleanly papers over the issue where she was before coming to Dallas, & that she is using an assumed name.

    Secondly, it shows that at one point she made an effort to get a job working in a hotel or apartment house in return for housing. I'm not sure just how practical that was; having this fishy letter of recommendation wouldn't convince a skeptical employer for one thing. And from personal experience, I can say that jobs working in those fields really don't rely on written references but on word of mouth, a bit of hustle & some luck. Who would think forging a letter of recommendation would get her a job managing an apartment house or working in a hotel?

    That is how a kid from an upper-middle class household might think. Get a reference from a famous hotel (that can't be easily checked), & she will be offered a similar job here. And stockbrokers were considered upper middle class in 1988. And at one point LEK grudgingly described her father as a "failed stockbroker" to her future in-laws.

    It would also explain how she got a hold of the letterhead to forge this paper: perhaps her father stayed at the hotel & brought some stationary home with him as a souvenir? Or perhaps he received a letter from someone staying at the hotel, & she cut the letterhead off of that letter & using a photocopier combined it with a piece of paper bearing the text?

    In an indirect way, this otherwise negligible, although unusual, document offers us a way to check what little LEK told others about her history, & suggests that except for her change of name anything she had revealed about herself is likely the truth.

    Just another theory to add to the many that have already been offered up.

  2. #92
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Pure Michigan
    THIS came to mind immediately upon finding this thread!!
    Quote Originally Posted by SeekingJana View Post
    I don't know what to think about Lori K. Ruff- whether she was a criminal herself, or was trying to establish ID because she was a child victim in some way.

    With that said, and also with respect for the incredible sleuthing done here and elsewhere about her, there IS another possible explanation for the " Roger Steinbeck" name.

    In the late 80's, there were 2 popular CBS soap operas which aired back to back in most of the USA. They were " As The World Turns" and then " Guiding Light' immediately following.

    Each soap had ONE main villain. The one on ATWT was named James STEINBECK.
    The villain on GL was named ROGER Thorp.

    Put them together and you have Roger Steinbeck. Co-incidence? Possibly but I tend to think she would have had PLENTY of time to watch soaps on TV and invent names.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. #93
    I like the soap opera suggestion for the name! She probably wanted a name that sounded like a real name, not so common as would sound fake (i.e. John Smith) but not distinct enough that people who recognized the name would think they knew the guy.

    One thing I've really suspected is maybe Lori was a caretaker for an elderly or sick relative (probably a grandparent or a parent if we believe Spring/Summer1988 though I don't) who died shortly before she disappeared. Someone in that situation would inherit a little bit of money, enough to start over, would lack work experience or references under their real name, and would have lost her primary reason for holding on to her old identity. Someone in that situation would obviously watch a lot of soap operas.

    From the letter, I get the impression LEK was not someone who had a lot of work experience. In fact, it sounds like she'd never read or written a reference letter before in her life, and she'd never had anyone help her out with finding a job. Depending on how old she was, that could signal what kind of circumstances she came from. If she was roughly the age she claimed (born 1967-1970) she would've only been 18-21 when she changed her identity, and I don't find it that suspicious that someone that age hadn't worked or worked for family or had only worked a few very basic jobs. But if she was older, I think it points to an isolated background, possibly in a conservative religious community where women don't work. Maybe even an early marriage. Or, of course, the caretaker theory I already mentioned.

    I'm assuming she found someone to hire her eventually, but it obviously wasn't off of that letter. Even if an employer believed the letter was legitimate, it shows that her employer didn't know her very well and she didn't have any skills or talents he found worthy of praise. I feel like most people could write something a lot better and I get the impression LEK was perhaps confused about what a reference letter even was.

    It was smart to pick Thailand because no one was going to pay for an international call to check. She certainly could've gotten away with something much more detailed. I also think she may have claimed to have lived overseas and gone to high school overseas because maybe she thought that would explain why she didn't have her transcripts. She could also claim her family were still over there and that's why they weren't in the picture. She probably changed her story before she met Blake as it doesn't seem she told him or his family that she'd grown up in Thailand. The weird way her employment history is described "high school to July of 1988" also gives her some flexibility when telling people how old she is. Her "official" birthdate of 1969 might've been a hard sell looking at that 1990 photo of her; perhaps she had an explanation for that too.

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Southeast US
    The one thing about the letter from "Roger Steinbeck" that has always bothered me is that his name is so close to quarterback Roger Staubach, an icon in Dallas and Texas. Though he played until 1979, and this letter was written in 1988 we presume, Staubach is a revered adopted son of Dallas and a familiar name in the Metroplex (as well as nationally). I just can't get that out of my mind.

    I agree with those who say that the international letter would be difficult to trace, and thus a good ruse. We paid interstate long distance fees in those days, and calling internationally was almost unheard of, unless you had a "watts" line in business. No one would verify the letter, I believe.

    The errors in the letter bother me, too. The "whom it may concern" should be capitalized. "Highschool" should be two words. The "pleasant manners" and "very productive" parts of that particular sentence lack verbs. The "tenant" sentence lacks commas.

    The letter mostly revolves around her demeanor as a renter, not as an employee, so I also agree with those who think this letter was written with the sole purpose of giving it to a landlord.

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