Identified! KY - Harlan Co., WhtFem UP5880, 16-22, off Little Shepherd Trail, Jun'69 Sonja Adams

Discussion in 'Identified!' started by nerosleuth, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    I found this old cold case of an unidentified white female from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. I don't believe this case from 1969 is well known outside of Eastern Kentucky.

    1969 Unidentified Female Harlan County, Kentucky

    Case Information:

    Date Found: June 2, 1969

    Place Found: On top of rural Pine Mountain about 50 feet off the scenic Little Shepherd Trail (KY State Route 1679) in Harlan County, Kentucky.

    Estimated Age: late teens to mid 20’s

    Race: White
    Sex: Female
    Height: 5’3”
    Hair Color: Brown or Reddish/Blonde
    Head Hair: medium length light brown, tinted to auburn in some places
    Weight: Unknown, medium build

    Medical: Healed broken collarbone

    Body Details: Scars and Marks:

    (1) Apparent burn scar, 3/4 inch wide, on right leg midway between knee and thigh. Scar begins on outside (lateral side) of leg and continues around to the back side of leg.

    (2) Scar three inches above right knee on the outside (lateral side) of the knee. Scar is 1 and 1/2 inches long with two clamp marks.

    (3) Scar is three inches long and located just below and beside the "clamp scar" mentioned above.

    Cause of Death: Homicide

    Estimated Postmortem Interval: 0-12 Weeks

    Other Information: May be from Ohio or visited the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

    Circumstances:

    In June 1969, a man picking wild flowers for his wife stumbled upon a nude badly decomposed body of a young woman in a secluded wooded area on top of rural Pine Mountain. The body was found about 50 feet off of the scenic Little Shepherd Trail on Kentucky State Route 1679 in Harlan County, Kentucky.

    The young woman had been beaten and also had stab wounds in the chest. The young woman was punched so hard that some of her teeth rested in her throat.

    Due to the young woman’s body being badly decomposed, law enforcement investigators couldn’t determine if the young woman had been sexually assaulted or raped.

    Law enforcement investigators also determined that the young woman’s body was in the area for approximately three weeks before it was found.

    At the murder scene, an order ticket stub from a restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, and parts of a man’s sweater was found near the body.

    No other clothing, personal belongings, or identification of any kind were found near the body.

    Law enforcement investigators believe that the young woman was murdered elsewhere and her body was dumped on Pine Mountain.

    Even though the body was badly decomposed, the owner of a local funeral home in the city of Harlan held an open casket wake in the hope that someone in the community could identify the young woman.

    Law enforcement authorities from other states did come to view the young woman’s body in hopes of identifying her body but no one could identify her.

    Due to the fact that no one from the local community could identify the body, law enforcement investigators believe that the young woman was not from Harlan County, Kentucky.

    The unidentified young woman was buried at a local cemetery in the city of Harlan, Kentucky.

    The Harlan County Coroner’s Office has reopened the 1969 cold case this year. The coroner is seeking a court order from the Harlan County Circuit Court to exhume the body.

    The Harlan County Coroner hopes to identify the young woman by extracting DNA from the body and test the DNA for possible DNA matches in the national database.

    For the past 40 years, this is the oldest unsolved cold case in Harlan County, Kentucky.

    The murdered young woman has never been identified and her killer has never been found.

    Contact Information:


    ME/C Contact Information
    Name: Emily Craig
    Agency: Kentucky Medical Examiner Office
    Phone Number: 502.564.4545 x 223
    E-mail Address: emily.craig@ky.gov


    Link:


    https://identifyus.org/cases/full_report/5880


    http://mymusesmusings.blogspot.com/2009/11/death-in-harlan-county-kentucky.html


    http://www.harlandaily.com/pages/fu...s&instance=news_special_coverage_right_column
     
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  3. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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    Her Doe link
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1933.html

    I assume they did exhume her since a DNA sample is now available but it's not been submitted for testing so I'm not sure what good it will do and why they went to the trouble of getting the sample if they're not using it
     
  4. MissJ

    MissJ New Member

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    IIRC Pine Mountain in Letcher/Harlan county was frequently described by us locals as a "dumping ground" for crime for cities north as one could often find Michigan and Ohio plates on cars in the area. Probably just the rumor mill but there was construction of the Carr Creek Lake and new roads through the area during the 60's and early70's. Incidentally, CCL became the "new" dumping ground after it was completed according to legend anyway.
     
  5. CarlK90245

    CarlK90245 UID Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  6. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is that the Memorial Day holiday was pretty close to the date that the unid body was found.

    A lot of cars from the northern states (Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio) were in Eastern Kentucky during the Memorial Day weekend back then.

    It is possible that the unid body could have been dumped sometime around Memorial Day before it was found.
     
  7. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    Probably just means the paperwork is still in process -- sitting on someone's desk somewhere while they deal with the current case load, or something like that.
     
  8. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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  9. MissJ

    MissJ New Member

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    Yes, mountain people did and still go back to their former homes on Memorial weekend from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Good observation Nerosleuth. Someone must have missed this young woman from somewhere. What if she had come from farther north and stopped in Cinci as a rest stop. IIRC I-75, I-64 and at least some of the Mountain Parkway was open? Ky 15 was under reconstruction in Knott and Letcher counties but the other roads to PM, IDK
     
  10. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    The travel time it took going from Cincinnati to Harlan County would have taken that long back then. Most of the highways in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky were two lane roads during the 60's and 70's.

    It wasn't until during the 80's and 90's that some of the major highways in the mountain region became four lane super highways.

    I-75 is the nearest interstate to Harlan County. I-75 was almost completed in 1969. Mountain parkway opened in 1963 and Daniel Boone Parkway opened in 1974.


    http://www.kentuckyroads.com/i-75/


    http://www.kentuckyroads.com/i-64/


    http://www.kentuckyroads.com/daniel_boone_parkway/


    http://www.kentuckyroads.com/mountain_parkway/


    If she did come from the North, there were plenty of routes to take getting from Cincinnati to Harlan County back then. The most likely route would have been I-75, then taking U.S. 25E and U.S. 119 going to Harlan County.

    Another possibility that cannot be overlooked is that she could have been in Southwestern Virginia along the Kentucky-Virginia border.
     
  11. MissJ

    MissJ New Member

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    Good points. I was too young to drive back then and obviously my memory is faulty. Va? yes, good idea. When did US 23 get completed to Ky border?
     
  12. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    I was too young to drive back then too. I do know it wasn't until the late 90's that US 23 finally was a four lane highway all the way from the Kentucky-Virginia border at Pound Gap to the Ohio River at Portsmouth.

    U.S. Route 23 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  13. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    What I'm getting is that she was most likely alive when she came to the area, because you'd have to drive quite a long way with a body in your trunk to come from any distance.
     
  14. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    I agree that she was most likely alive when she came to the area. It was a long drive back then and I don't think a killer would drive over a very long distance with a body in the trunk.

    I believe she was murdered somewhere else within an hour's drive from where her body was found, either in Kentucky (Bell, Harlan, Leslie, Letcher, or Perry County) or in Virginia (Wise or Lee County).

    If the unid was murdered in Virginia, there are plenty of back roads that one can take in Wise or Lee County, Virginia that connects to the back roads in Letcher County, Kentucky.
     
  15. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    It was mentioned lots of tourists come to that area. Are there lots of campgrounds or motels? Just trying to get a better feel for where she was found.
     
  16. nerosleuth

    nerosleuth Active Member

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    I don't know about campgrounds or parks in that area during 1969. But I do know that during the late 60's to late 70's, a lot of areas in Eastern Kentucky only had mom and pop motels. The big chain motels were near the bigger cities along the interstates. I recall that it wasn't until during the late 70's to late 80's before the big chain motels appeared in Eastern Kentucky.

    The Black Mountain, Cumberland Mountain, and Pine Mountain were in Harlan County. Daniel Boone National Forest and Jefferson National Forest were nearby. Harlan County also wasn't far from Bristol Caverns and Great Smoky Mountains.
     
  17. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    It didn't really state WHERE on the Little Shepherd Trail she was found, other than Harlan County.
    There is actually NOTHING on the road itself. It runs from a few miles north of Harlan, on a ridge, to the Little Shepherd Park in Letcher County. It is a really "skinny" road that was only paved (definitely within the past decade). While not easily accessible, it runs roughly parallel to US-119 gouing E-NE from Harlan.

    A few years ago, a friend and I attempted to go down it from its Harlan-end. There had been ice storms recently, but it had been at least a few weeks. There were no "ice" problems, but there were trees/limbs blocking it. I had to back up almost a mile before I could find a space (not a driveway) to get the vehicle turned around. That was no small feat on the road. It is a beautiful drive, but I don't know of any residences (let alone businesses) on it.
     
  18. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    I have many old KY-area maps on my computer. I will be checking from around that time. I know that I-75 technically existed, albeit in sections. I think at that time, you would have to (from Cincy) get off and take US-25/US-25E south of Richmond and hook up with US-119.
    Will check, but I know that the "regular" highways weren't anything like they are today (straightened, re-routings, etc).

    Since she had a Cincinatti receipt, they could have also come down US-421 (from Berea, through Manchester) but US-25 (and US-25E south of Corbin) has been the route my family's taken to Harlan (from Bardstown) since the early-80's.
     
  19. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    (if this works... tried to attach image, but would only use URL address rather than saved image)
    This is the area in 1967. The road should be in the yellow area I highlighted, but is not really drawn on the map.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    ***
    Jellico is in the lower left of this map. Jellico is in Campbell County, TN. A large number of "redhead" does have been found in that area. This girl had "auburn" hair. Could she be connected to the others, who weren't THAT far away?
     
  21. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    This is the Little Shepherd Trail (highlighted, from Harlan Co 1977 map)

    Harlan is in the bottom right. Cumberland is just off to the right of image, near where you see the park labeled near the Letcher border.

    [​IMG]
     

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