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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    CA - Lancaster, WhtFem 1205UFCA , 30-50, in desert, homemade coffin, Dec'68

    I couldn't find this case anywhere on the site so thought I would put it up- Doe Network Hot Case # 652. Let me know if its posted elsewhere.

    The woman was shot in the head and buried in a coffin. She was dressed in her pajamas and hairnet and had a paper bag over her head. I'd almost think it was just a case of someone who didn't want to bury their relative in a graveyard or something from the description, except for the way she died.

    The Doe Network:

    Unidentified Female

    • The victim was discovered on December 27, 1968 in Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California
    • Estimated Date of Death: 3-12 months
    • Cause of Death: Bullet to the temple

    Vital Statistics

    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Gray hair. Victim had a hysterectomy and had given birth to at least one child.
    • Clothing: She was dressed in light colored nylon pajamas; there was a hairnet on her head.
    • Personal Effects : An x-ray examination of her head revealed bobby pins.
    • Fingerprints:Available

    Case History
    The victim was located in a wooden coffin buried in the ground in Lancaster, California on December 27, 1968.
    The coffin was reddish-brown. The top had been glued and nailed down. Coffin painted after the nails put in. The victim was wrapped in two multi colored quilts. Her head was resting on a brocade pillow.There was a paper bag covering her head.
    Her fingerprints were checked locally and with the FBI with negative results. Fingerprint check updated on 4/10/07.

    If you have any information about this case please contact:
    Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
    Homicide Cold Case Unit
    You may remain anonymous when submitting information.
    Agency Case Number:
    NCIC Number:

    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case. Source Information:
    Los Angeles County Homicide Cold Case Unit
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 06-25-2016 at 03:03 PM. Reason: updated Doe link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Oh Captain, My Captain
    maybe she was a suicide and someone believed she couldn't be laid to rest in consecrated groung/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    That's an idea believe. Maybe it was one of her children? There is no sketch or picture and she's been missing since 1968 with little description to go on. Given the burial, I would think she is probably local, but who knows?

    So sad that she has not been identified so far. I wonder if she was ever even reported missing....


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    DN have added the information that she had auburn, graying hair and that there was a copy of Los Angeles Times dated 7/1/67 in casket.

    So she probably wasn't buried earlier than that.

    Wonder if it meant anything that they put the newspaper there or was just a practical thing for whatever reason. Could it contain any clues to her identity?

    This is a female found in Los Angeles County in December 1968 wearing pajamas and a checkered bathrobe whose stats and physical description are the same (as far as info is given) and the case number matches but Namus says she was found December 08 and not December 27 and her pajamas were blue instead of pink. She had crowns in the front teeth of the upper jaw.
    Last edited by Donjeta; 02-27-2011 at 05:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Long Beach, CA
    Later, the Doe Network added
    The victim was located in a wooden coffin buried in the ground at Street and East Avenue Y-4 LLano a remote area of Lancaster, California on December 27, 1968.
    I would like more information about the area, that might help figure out who she is.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ambercat View Post
    Later, the Doe Network added

    I would like more information about the area, that might help figure out who she is.
    I used to live kinda close to that area in the late 60s, but was very young.

    What's weird when I saw this thread is that my ex-FIL (now deceased) told me he knew a man in the Lancaster area who came home from work one day and his wife was gone and she never came home again!

    I have NO idea what this man's name was at all. If my exFIL told me, it was 30 years ago and I cannot remember anymore. How weird is that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Long Beach, CA
    Verna Smith might be consistent with this UID, except I'm not sure if she had a hysterectomy.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Blue Ridge Mtns.
    I'm thinking out of the box here. But maybe this was a case of someone being sick and a burden to someone so they shot their self. Maybe a loved one found them such as a husband or a son and couldn't afford a normal funeral. Stranger things have happened. Maybe the news paper was just a reference to the day of how long she had been there if someone found her.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    The amount of "care" put into the burial(the creation of the coffin, the painting of it, the brocade pillow) could suggest that it was suicide, and that attempts were made to bury her with respect.

    On the other hand, there's also the fact that a bag was put over her head...that, in addition to being extremely creepy, looks like something a serial killer would do to symbolize that (s)he thought of his/her victim as less than human.

    The most likely scenario, to me, is that she was murdered by her family(or a caretaker/roommate/associate)...it had to have been someone she trusted, and she probably died while she was sleeping(because of the pajamas and hairnet).

    Since she seems to have died several months after the date the newspaper was printed, I'm wondering if it wasn't placed in the grave with the intention of throwing off investigators(maybe someone had gone missing around that time, and they were hoping the focus would be on that person instead).

    Or, maybe, there's an article in there somewhere that reveals the reason the murderer decided to take her life.

    I did a Google search for "Los Angeles Times July 1 1967," and didn't see anything that looked significant - but then, I might not know what to look for.
    "Two eyes are not enough, if one desires to accomplish anything." - Marie Bashkirtseff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    To me, the bag on the head supports the idea that whoever buried this person cared about them - whether this was a suicide, or the murder of a loved one. They couldn't bare to look at her face dead, or with the wound from the gunshot.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I'm thinking along the lines of "assisted" suicide. Or even regular suicide. Woman begs to end her life. So friend/family member either does it or cleans up after she does it. Bag goes over the head because they can't stand seeing her like this. They go for the desert burial so the police don't get involved. That's what makes me lean towards assisted suicide - the woman and the shooter feel they've done the right thing, but the law wouldn't see it that way. The newspaper is a kind of marker - they can't erect a tombstone and they don't want to leave her name and/or birthdate lest she be discovered and that be used to identify her and prosecute the shooter. But the newspaper is a kind of generic date of death momento. Doesn't even involve anyone's handwriting. This just seems too respectful to be some anonymous murder - a pillow beneath her head?

    Just thinking out loud. But I don't think this is anyone reported missing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I can see the point of assisted suicide and of familial murder both.

    On the assisted suicide theory, or the finding of her after she committed suicide, I can understand wanting to give her a burial, purchasing a coffin, etc. On the other hand, why would a woman kill herself while wearing bobby pins and a hairnet? It sounds like she cared enough about her appearance to set her hair in pin curls. I suppose something could have made her so distraught she did it while not looking her best.

    On the familial murder angle, it would explain why she may not be a reported missing person. Plus it would explain the feeling of needing to put her in a proper container and it would maybe explain the bag on her head. They couldn't stand to look at her while she was being put in the coffin. This sounds like they had some sort of relationship or feelings for her. I would think it was rare for a murderer to purchase a coffin for their victim, even if related, partly because it would be an odd thing to go purchase a coffin and take it home with you. It looks suspicious.

    Either way I think whoever buried her knew he wellr.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    East and West and nowhere in between. The SEA, for now.
    I'm seeing some possibilities with your theories, but the whole paper bag thing gets me. It seems so...insulting. Put a paper bag over someone's head just has such a concrete meaning. I suppose it could have been done hastily if it were the first thing within reach, but it still strikes me as odd, given the other care that was taken with the body.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    It occurs to me that the newspaper(and its date) might be meant to show her birthday in the absence of a grave marker. Why they chose '67 and not '68, though, I'm not sure...perhaps she died/was killed before July of '68(any time after December of '67 could be possible).

    When the body was found, it was in good enough condition that fingerprints could be taken...this makes me think they would have been able to tell, due to the angle, whether or not the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

    Of course, the right people may never have looked at this closely enough, and assumed it was murder when it WAS suicide.

    It just seems unlikely to me, though. Statistically, when a woman commits suicide, she will choose a method that will preserve her appearance(sleeping pills, etc.). I would think that this woman, who cared enough about her appearance to set her hair with pins and protect it with a hairnet at night(even, perhaps, when sick) would not have chosen such a graphic and ugly method of taking her life.

    I would also think that, if the person(s) who buried her put the bag over her head because they did not want to see her in such a condition, that they would have removed it before closing the coffin.

    Some very strange things happen, though, and not everything falls neatly into the most common or obvious category.

    I hope this gets solved...and that, if it was a murder, that the person(s) responsible can be found out while they are still alive.

    This is such an old case that I don't know if it'll be possible.
    "Two eyes are not enough, if one desires to accomplish anything." - Marie Bashkirtseff

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    On Dec. 8, 1968, a group of hunters came across a coffin about 15 feet from the roadway, on 188th Street East, just south of Fort Tejon Road.

    “It was behind a tree or bush and could not be seen from the roadway,” Longshore said. “It was covered with dead limbs of trees and rocks and some dirt.”

    Longshore said the women’s appearance coupled with how the coffin was constructed led detectives to believe it was a domestic murder.

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