CA KERN COUNTY JANE DOE: HF, 30-40, "Rebecca Ochoa" or "Becky", with tattoos, found in an almond orchard in Delano, CA - 15 July 1980 *SHIRLEY SOOSAY*




Reconstruction of the victim by Carl Koppelman; victim's tattoos. To view a postmortem photgraph of the victim, please click here.

Date of Discovery: July 15, 1980
Location of Discovery: Delano, Kern County, California.
Estimated Date of Death: 1 day prior
State of Remains: Recognizable face
Cause of Death: Homicide by stabbing

Physical Description
Estimated Age: 30-40 years old
Race: Hispanic and/or Native American
Sex: Female
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 115 lbs.
Hair: Brown, shoulder-length.
Eye Color: Brown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Victim had given birth at least once. 4" scar on abdomen, scar on left buttock. Transversely positioned 1-1/2" scar above and below left knee; possible surgical. Vitallium plate with screws and hinged with 3-1/2" rod into left hip to stabilize left femur fracture just below the head of femur. Blood group O Positive.
Tattoos: Tattoos on each arm, one is a tattoo of a heart with the name "Shirley" in the center and it had the words "Love You" above and "Seattle" below it.

Dentals: Available. All upper teeth missing; no denture located. Lower teeth present.
Fingerprints: Available.
DNA: Sample submitted - Tests complete.

Clothing & Personal Items
Clothing: Pink blouse, blue denim pants, size 28. Blue socks, white slip-on shoes, size 6. white panty girdle, multicolored panties.
Jewelry: Unknown.
Additional Personal Items: Unknown.

Circumstances of Discovery
The victim was found on July 15, 1980 in a field in an almond orchard in Delano, California. She may have been from Washington. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed to death.

She may have gone by the name "Becky" or "Rebecca Ochoa" and could have been employed at an apple orchard.

In 2015, DNA results from scrapings of her fingernails and clothing linked the woman and 1020UFCA to Wilson Chouest, a 63-year-old, who was already in prison. He did not apparently know the victims.

Chouest was convicted of the two murders in 2018 and was given life in prison.

Investigating Agency(s)
Agency Name: Kern County Coroner's Office
Agency Contact Person: Dawn Ratliff
Agency Phone Number: 661-868-0110 or 661-868-0100
Agency E-Mail: Ratliff(at)
Agency Case Number: C586-80

Agency Name: Kern County Sheriff's Office
Agency Contact Person: Detective Karen Smith
Agency Phone Number: 661-391-7587
Agency E-Mail: Detective-Commander(at)
Agency Case Number: Unknown

NCIC Case Number: U763194382
NamUs Case Number: 14243

Information Source(s)
Thousand Oaks Acorn
KTLA 5 News
NBC Los Angeles
ABC 23 News
Kern Golden Empire
One Missing Person
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Admin Notes
Added: 12/3/2005; Last Updated: 1/29/19

Case Photo

Female, Uncertain
Date Body Found July 14, 1980
Location Found McFarland, California
Estimated Age Range 40 Years

Case Information

Case Numbers
NCMEC Number--
ME/C Case Number C586-80

Sex Female
Race / Ethnicity Uncertain
Possible First Name --
Possible Middle Name--
Possible Last Name--
Possible Nickname--
Estimated Age Group Adult - Pre 40
Estimated Age Range (Years) 40
Estimated Year of Death--
Estimated PMI--
Height 5' 4"(64 inches) , Measured
Weight 115 lbs, Measured

Type Unidentified Deceased
Date Body Found July 14, 1980
NamUs Case Created August 31, 2015
ME/C QA Reviewed--

Location Found Map
Location McFarland, California 93250
County Kern County
GPS Coordinates (Not Mapped)--
Circumstances of Recovery Found deceased in an almond orchard

Details of Recovery
Inventory of Remains All parts recovered
Condition of Remains Recognizable face

Circumstance Notes
This unidentified female was found July 14, 1980 in a Kern County almond orchard.

Physical Description
Hair Color Brown
Head Hair Description Shoulder length
Body Hair Description--
Facial Hair Description--
Left Eye Color Brown
Right Eye Color Brown
Eye Description--
Distinctive Physical Features
6" scar on left hip 4" scar across belly above pubic hair line

upper left arm - " Love You" above Red Heart with "Shirley" written thru heart and "Seattle" below Heart. left anterior lower arm - "Mother" above Red/Green Flower with "I Love You" below Flower.

Other distinctive physical characteristic
All upper teeth missing; no denture located. Lower teeth present

Clothing and Accessories
blue denim pants size 28, pink blouse, white panty girdle, multicolored panties.
On the Body

white slip on shoes, size 6
On the Body

Kern Co Jane Doe
Active Cases
Kern Co Jane Doe

Kern Co Jane Doe is an unidentified female of uncertain race who was found on July 14, 1980 in an almond orchard in Kern County between McFarland and Bakersfield, California. Having been sexually assaulted and stabbed, the manner of her death is considered homicide. She had shoulder length brown hair, brown eyes, and was 5′ 4″ tall and weighed 115 lbs. She had tattoos professionally “inked”. She may have been picked up at the now closed bar in Lemoore, CA called Ruby’s, about 75 miles from where she was found.

NamUs UP14243
Date Found July 14, 1980
Gender Female
Estimated Age 25 – 40
Estimated PMI Unspecified
Location McFarland, California

Agency of Jurisdiction
Dawn Ratliff, Coroner
Kern County Sheriff’s Office

Links to More Information
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
Wilson Chouest - Wikipedia
Kern County and Ventura County Jane Doe may be closer than ever to being identified

Research in progress.
From the results of the genetic genealogy research, DDP has determined that Kern County Jane Doe is very likely of Indigenous Canadian First Nations ancestry.
Image Credit: Carl Koppelman

Links to Kern County Jane Doe Article Links

Posted on May 5, 2019

Last edited by a moderator:

The Coffeenator

Well-known member
So sad no one would recognize her with the Tattoos. But that leads me to believe she wasn't local and likely transient.
From the results of the genetic genealogy research, DDP has determined that she is very likely of Indigenous Canadian First Nations ancestry, who are, just like Native Americans in the US, very underrepresented in the family tree databases.
This is her admixture chart:



Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member


Well-known member
Kern County Jane Doe 1980 was added t0 Gedmatch by the DNA Doe Project. As of February 22, 2021, she had just under 1,000 DNA matches. Her highest match is 103.1 cM - this is not a substantial match. (However, her highest "adjusted" DNA match in FTDNA is 239 cM - which is the second cousin, first cousin once removed range). She is on the Google Drive spreadsheet at:


Let's Find Michael Bryson!
Staff member
Status Identified

On April 23, 2021 the Kern County Sheriff-Coroner (KCSCO) and the DNA Doe Project (DDP) announced the identification of Kern County Jane Doe 1980 as Shirley Ann Soosay, a member of the Cree Nation. She is one of the first Indigenous Peoples Does to be identified using genetic genealogy.

Shirley Ann Soosay

Shirley Ann Soosay | Photo courtesy of KCSCO

Ms. Soosay was found in an almond orchard near Bakersfield, California in 1980. She was an unidentified victim of suspected serial killer Wilson Chouest.

In July of 2018, Chief Dawn Ratliff of the Kern County Sheriff-Coroner Division contacted DDP hoping to resolve the woman’s identity using genetic genealogy. Because the DNA was so highly degraded, it took nearly a year to obtain data which could be uploaded to GEDmatch. Genealogical work on the case did not begin until May 2019.

Based on the genealogy research, it was determined that the deceased woman descended from Indigenous First Nations People from Canada, a population which is under-represented in most DNA databases. Team Leader Gina Wrather noted, “This case was particularly challenging because Indigenous family histories are usually relayed orally, so there is little written genealogical documentation available.”

The identity was solved when a close family member recognized an artist’s rendering of Kern County Jane Doe and saw the information about her likely origins, both of which were posted as part of a DDP Facebook outreach campaign. When the relative uploaded their DNA profile to the GEDmatch database the identification was confirmed.

The DNA Doe Project wishes to acknowledge the contributions of those groups and individuals who helped solve this case: Kern County Sheriff-Coroner Division Chief Dawn Ratliff who brought the case to us; Othram for DNA sequencing; Dr. Gregory Magoon, contracting through Full Genomes Corp., for bioinformatics; Family Tree DNA for upload to their database; GEDmatch/Verogen for use of their tools and database; Carl Koppelman for his artist’s rendition of Jane Doe; and DDP’s dedicated teams of volunteer genealogists who work tirelessly to bring victims home. We also recognize the assistance of the Métis Family Website Resources & Discussion Group which has supported our research on Cree family trees.

Chief Coroner Ratliff summed up the team’s efforts, “This is not about solving crime although it may be a by-product. This was about finding family who had missed her but did not know where to look.”

For more information on the search for the identity of Kern County Jane Doe: News Article

Image Credit: Carl Koppelman

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