497UFCA - Unidentified Female
Date of Discovery: June 3, 1993
Location of Discovery: Santa Clara County, California
Estimated Date of Death: Late May 1993
State of Remains: Not recognizable - Decomposing/putrefaction
Cause of Death: Homicide by strangulation
Physical DescriptionEstimated Age: 37 - 43 years old
Race: White with possible Hispanic characteristics
Weight: 130 lbs.
Hair Color: Unknown
Eye Color: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: 5 inch scar on her abdomen, possibly the result of a surgery that removed her gallbladder. Track marks on her arm from drug abuse. No evidence of childbirth.
IdentifiersDentals: Unknown. Evidence of previous treatment but she had not cared for her teeth for some time, due to the level of deterioration.
Clothing & Personal ItemsClothing: Her clothing was typical of a transient, homeless person.
Additional Personal Items: Unknown
Circumstances of DiscoveryThe victim was located June 3, 1993 in Santa Clara County, on westbound State Route 152 (the Pacheco Pass highway) near Casa de Fruita. The woman's body was found by a trucker who stopped at the turnout to relieve himself.
On June 13, 2006, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed murder charges against Keith Hunter Jesperson for the 1993 killing. Jesperson wrote authorities the letter in 1997 describing the murder, the truck driver was already in prison for other murders. Jesperson, who earned the nickname "Happy Face Killer'' because he drew happy faces on letters to an Oregon newspaper in which he talked of his crimes, is currently serving two life sentences for murders in Oregon and Wyoming.
In his letter, Jesperson claimed that he met her at truck stop on Interstate 5 in Corning, about 20 miles south of Red Bluff and gave her a ride. In Williams, they had sex and he strangled her, before driving on toward Gilroy. Along the way, he stopped at the Pacheco Pass on Highway 152, and tossed her body off the berm.
In his guilty plea in Santa Clara County, he said he met the woman at a truck stop off I-5, bought her lunch, gave her a lift, had sex with her and then killed her. He said he drove for several hours with the body in his cab before dumping it. He gave as much information he could about her in return for a life sentence. He said she claimed to have relatives in the Sacramento, California area. He got 3rd life term for this killing.
Despite his history of false confessions, Jesperson's account of this murder was found credible, as he described details of the scene in ways only the killer would have known, such as the placement of the body near a pile of rocks or the fact that a flashlight was found near the remains.
Her name was possibly Karla/Carla or Cindy (according to Jesperson in I: the Making of a Serial Killer by Jack Olsen). The victim may have been a prostitute.
Investigating Agency(s)Agency Name: Santa Clara County Sheriffs Department
Agency Contact Person: Detective Ron Breuss
Agency Phone Number: 408-808-4500
Agency E-Mail: Ronald.Breuss(at)sheriff.sccgov.org
Agency Case Number: 93-154-002
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: Not entered
Information Source(s)Namus The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
East Bay Times
Santa Clara County Coroner
I: the Making of a Serial Killer by Jack Olsen
The Mercury News
Earth Times (7/29/07)
On June 13, 2006, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed murder charges against Keith Hunter Jesperson, "Happy Face Killer", for the 1993 killing. Jesperson wrote authorities the letter in 1997 describing the murder, the truck...
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