Identified! TX - Huntsville, 'Walker County Jane Doe', WhtFem 14-16, 91UFTX, Nov'80 #5 - Sherri Ann Jarvis

Beekarina

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The one thing that continues to throw me, is how happy Sherry looks. I know this doesn't mean anything, but I'm personally not feeling the penpals with a prisoner theory. My reasoning is she looks like a girl who would easily get plenty of attention locally. I know anything is possible, but why would she be motivated to write to some guy(s) in jail thousand+ miles away from home?

I'm not victim blaming/shaming by saying this, but we know Sherry skipped school. I'm assuming she was out having fun, doing teenager stuff when she skipped. She doesn't look like she was pining away for a guy in jail in Texas. If she was, wouldn't she have gone straight there on a bus or something?

Just some thoughts, my opinion....
 

MissTressNine

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The one thing that continues to throw me, is how happy Sherry looks. I know this doesn't mean anything, but I'm personally not feeling the penpals with a prisoner theory. My reasoning is she looks like a girl who would easily get plenty of attention locally. I know anything is possible, but why would she be motivated to write to some guy(s) in jail thousand+ miles away from home?

I'm not victim blaming/shaming by saying this, but we know Sherry skipped school. I'm assuming she was out having fun, doing teenager stuff when she skipped. She doesn't look like she was pining away for a guy in jail in Texas. If she was, wouldn't she have gone straight there on a bus or something?

Just some thoughts, my opinion....

Happy prior to her being taken by the state. Resentment towards her family (“who cares?”) for unknown reasons, maybe feeling abandoned or rejected after being in state custody. She probably didn’t have any money to afford a bus, and even if she did, she might’ve ran out early on. The fact that she missed a lot of school could’ve meant she was rebellious, so that would fit hand in hand with hitchhiking, and looking in the newspapers, found prisoners who claimed loneliness and looking for a penpal. She might’ve felt some kind of connection, nobody understands her, and being in school is like being in prison kind of thing. She did seem like a happy, outgoing girl with tons of friends, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t lonely. She might’ve met friendly people while traveling to Texas but her last ride, not so much, might’ve demanded money and/or sexual favors when she claimed she had no money.

I’m not saying anything is legit, but it’s just what I think.
 

Friday Fan

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I'm not victim blaming/shaming by saying this, but we know Sherry skipped school. I'm assuming she was out having fun, doing teenager stuff when she skipped. She doesn't look like she was pining away for a guy in jail in Texas. If she was, wouldn't she have gone straight there on a bus or something?

Just some thoughts, my opinion....

Probably.

It seems like there was a subset of girls who did that pen pal stuff. (Not necessarily to prisoners, but I knew some girls in HS. Never asked for details). Most were introvert types. Rumor was all men in pen pal ads were married anyway. MOO
 
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Beekarina

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See, my take on "who cares?" even before we had any sense of the person making the remark, was it was a young person trying to seem edgy/brave/older. That is, if you were 19, and an adult "who cares" if your parents know where you are, because, doh! you're an ADULT!

i.e. Maybe even from a bit of fear, as in "Who cares? I'm totally fine. I don't need anyone watching me."

JMO!
 

EllieFox

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Happy prior to her being taken by the state. Resentment towards her family (“who cares?”) for unknown reasons, maybe feeling abandoned or rejected after being in state custody. She probably didn’t have any money to afford a bus, and even if she did, she might’ve ran out early on. The fact that she missed a lot of school could’ve meant she was rebellious, so that would fit hand in hand with hitchhiking, and looking in the newspapers, found prisoners who claimed loneliness and looking for a penpal. She might’ve felt some kind of connection, nobody understands her, and being in school is like being in prison kind of thing. She did seem like a happy, outgoing girl with tons of friends, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t lonely. She might’ve met friendly people while traveling to Texas but her last ride, not so much, might’ve demanded money and/or sexual favors when she claimed she had no money.

I’m not saying anything is legit, but it’s just what I think.

I agree, many teens have a rebellious anti authority stage and writing to a prisoner or someone on death row could be very appealing. If it started when she was in a reform or foster home as she would be lonely there and running away from a court appearance, she said she 'wasn't going back home' and perhaps she saw her chance to visit her pen pal 'boyfriend' far away for an adventure that would keep her out of school and take her down to the sunny south? I hope that there are some usable details in the letter she sent her family from Denver or that they find some people who helped her there or helped her travel down to the prison in Texas.

A 14 year old would not have much if any money to travel with, and perhaps the idea of a long distance hitch may also appealed to her, as it did to me in the 1980's I hitchhiked through Europe, it was an adventure and exciting. I was lucky.

This is just speculation.
 

Sneaker33

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Sherry appeared happy in pictures but being 13 or 14 is a tough age for kids especially girls. I have talked to many kids (now adults) I knew from my junior high and both boys and girls described it as their worst years. It is also an age when depression can hit hard. Kids don't have the years of life experience to know things can get better.
 

squish

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Happy prior to her being taken by the state. Resentment towards her family (“who cares?”) for unknown reasons, maybe feeling abandoned or rejected after being in state custody. She probably didn’t have any money to afford a bus, and even if she did, she might’ve ran out early on. The fact that she missed a lot of school could’ve meant she was rebellious, so that would fit hand in hand with hitchhiking, and looking in the newspapers, found prisoners who claimed loneliness and looking for a penpal. She might’ve felt some kind of connection, nobody understands her, and being in school is like being in prison kind of thing. She did seem like a happy, outgoing girl with tons of friends, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t lonely. She might’ve met friendly people while traveling to Texas but her last ride, not so much, might’ve demanded money and/or sexual favors when she claimed she had no money.

I’m not saying anything is legit, but it’s just what I think.

I read the “who cares?” comment as resentment towards the waitress for not believing Sherry’s lie that she was 19, rather than resentment towards her family.
 

Cupofcare

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If she ran away with others from Stillwater..I can just picture this...a group of youngsters feeling the excitement of going on a big adventure into the unknown. Being a group with the same goals, they'd have been more likely to assist each other, also to validate their own ambitions. People often befriend others right away, sensing they or their group is similar to themselves somehow, socially, economically etc. Sherry also had the factor that she was still really young and cute...which would have caused people to be more willing to help her out. I've had friends moving into the unknown just sleeping on their other friends' couch for weeks until they find a new place, job, whatever. It just happens that way sometimes, and when they leave the one friend's place they can easily just stay with another friend. Sherry having a pen pal would not mean she was lonely necessarily or even looking for a relationship. Probably just wanted to meet a new bad boy out of curiosity. Or remember if her friends were bad boys maybe they encouraged her to go meet this guy. Obviously was staying with someone and it's fishy this person(s) didn't speak up after she never returned from Huntsville.
 

rosesfromangels

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I read the “who cares?” comment as resentment towards the waitress for not believing Sherry’s lie that she was 19, rather than resentment towards her family.
I interpreted that remark in the completely opposite way. To me, it speaks to anger and contempt. We now know that Sherry had been removed from her home for being a chronic truant, and she clearly did not like where she was living.

Amateur opinion and speculation
 

Beekarina

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Was Sherry the oldest? Or in the middle?

It is interesting to me that she wrote a letter to her mother, but did not (as far as we know?) contact any of her other family members. Maybe she did not have the opportunity, or maybe their relationships were strained--I remember having some years with my siblings where we got along better than others.

Just something I was thinking about since I also have several siblings. I was closer with one of them than the others growing up, especially as a teen, and much older than two of them. I know I would have wanted news of "the babies", and would have found it really hard not to have ever checked in with the sister I was closest with, even if it was just a message through a friend or a friend or something.

This is based on my experience obviously. It just makes me wonder if Sherry was freely able to communicate? Payphones were everywhere back then, and stamps were inexpensive.
 

luulabobss

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Was Sherry the oldest? Or in the middle?

It is interesting to me that she wrote a letter to her mother, but did not (as far as we know?) contact any of her other family members. Maybe she did not have the opportunity, or maybe their relationships were strained--I remember having some years with my siblings where we got along better than others.

Just something I was thinking about since I also have several siblings. I was closer with one of them than the others growing up, especially as a teen, and much older than two of them. I know I would have wanted news of "the babies", and would have found it really hard not to have ever checked in with the sister I was closest with, even if it was just a message through a friend or a friend or something.

This is based on my experience obviously. It just makes me wonder if Sherry was freely able to communicate? Payphones were everywhere back then, and stamps were inexpensive.

I believe that Sherry was 3rd oldest out of 6, but please anyone correct me if I am wrong!

I also find this a very interesting point. If she only wrote the one letter saying that she wasn’t returning until she was 18 or 21, perhaps that implied that her mother (and any family members) wouldn’t hear from her again until then. Or possibly she had planned to write again but was murdered before she got the chance to.
Just speculation.
 
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Sneaker33

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I understand she wrote the letter. We really don't know if she would have stayed away for years. I think it would be very difficult for a girl as young as Sherry to be content living as a runaway. She seemed to be running from being placed in a group home versus leaving due to an abusive home. I think of myself as an older teen and young adult traveling with friends and classmates. These were short stays at hotels on school trips/ski trips and there would be drama. I know there were the magazine selling groups who would recruit young people with the promise of travel and earning money. We know from the case of Lavender Doe "Dana" these were not what they seemed. Just throwing this out as a possibility of work a runaway could be recruited. Someone must remember Sherry after the sisters left and before her arrival in Walker County.
 

summergirl1

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Is the waitress who supposedly interacted with Sherry that night still alive?
 

Nell91

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I've wondered many times whether the witnesses mistook Sherry on that night for someone else, and Sherry wasn't anywhere near Huntsville, but a long haul trucker saw it as an opportune place to dump her body. She could have been picked up anywhere, going off that theory. But then again, how many young white girls resembling Sherry would be asking for directions? So I dont think its very likely it wasn't Sherry. Just thinking out loud
 

sunnynz

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I've wondered many times whether the witnesses mistook Sherry on that night for someone else, and Sherry wasn't anywhere near Huntsville, but a long haul trucker saw it as an opportune place to dump her body. She could have been picked up anywhere, going off that theory. But then again, how many young white girls resembling Sherry would be asking for directions? So I dont think its very likely it wasn't Sherry. Just thinking out loud
I have pondered the same
 

Beekarina

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I've wondered if someone connected with the place was involved with her murder.

Curious how often a place like that receives fuel deliveries, more stock, etc if they ever looked into relatives, boyfriends etc of people working there that night? While I agree most locals would have plenty of places to hide a body, someone who was due to pick up a girlfriend after a shift (or even pick up one of the women working the lot, and they saw an opportunity/victim in young Sherry) or had to be at another store in a couple of hours with more chips and soda, would have a tight timeline.
 

Beekarina

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I've wondered many times whether the witnesses mistook Sherry on that night for someone else, and Sherry wasn't anywhere near Huntsville, but a long haul trucker saw it as an opportune place to dump her body. She could have been picked up anywhere, going off that theory. But then again, how many young white girls resembling Sherry would be asking for directions? So I dont think its very likely it wasn't Sherry. Just thinking out loud

The young woman who worked at the Hitchin' Post DID say college kids often came in. So it is possible another young girl came through the same night. It would be a really strange coincidence, but consider how many young brunette women those of us posting here thought might be Sherry?

I think it was Sherry, but it is possible it was someone else who got out of a car, came in for directions and vanished into the night. Assume there are no existing copies of visitor logs from Ellis that could be checked to see if any young women visited November 1st?
 

Tahlia Woodson

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The young woman who worked at the Hitchin' Post DID say college kids often came in. So it is possible another young girl came through the same night. It would be a really strange coincidence, but consider how many young brunette women those of us posting here thought might be Sherry?

I think it was Sherry, but it is possible it was someone else who got out of a car, came in for directions and vanished into the night. Assume there are no existing copies of visitor logs from Ellis that could be checked to see if any young women visited November 1st?
The girl seen by the witness[es] said she was carrying 'red strapped heeled sandals', and Sherry was found with red strapped heeled sandals near her body, so I think that helps us justify thinking they were one and the same, otherwise it would be a WAY bigger coincidence for two different girls that look very similar to be in the same area and have the exact same shoes (or maybe not exact; I don't know if they confirmed they were the same shoes the witnesses saw her carry). But I'm totally not ruling out being a different girl. So many twists and turns in this case
 

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I still think it's a possibility that she was killed by a prison guard who happened upon her walking along his route either to or from work,I'm not sure if prison guards carry (or carried in 1980) night sticks or batons or whatever they would call them,but I keep thinking back to the blunt object used in her assault.

Re the witnesses I believe I read somewhere that they identified Sherry as the girl they encountered when shown the morgue photo but I could be mistaken. MOO
 
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