DNA testing just identified a woman 28 years after she was killed by the “Happy Face Killer” in California, the sheriff’s office said.
A woman’s body was found in 1993 along the California State Route 152 in an unincorporated area in Gilroy, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
She was wearing blue clothing, but her identity remained unknown, the sheriff’s office said. The county medical examiner ruled her death as “undetermined.”
Detectives referred to Jane Doe as “Blue Pacheco” because of the clothing she was found in.
A year after her death, a man sent anonymous letters to The Oregonian and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office admitting to five murders, The Oregonian reported.
He signed the letters with a happy face.
The Oregonian then ran a five-part series from the letters.
Authorities identified the “Happy Face Killer” as Keith Hunter Jesperson and confirmed he killed eight women in five years.
He’s now serving a life sentence at the Oregon State Penitentiary for the killings of women in Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming, The Oregonian reported.
In 2006, Jesperson wrote a letter admitting to the killing of a woman near a California highway.
He was convicted of first-degree murder in the woman’s killing the following year, though her identity still remained unknown.
Detectives revisited the woman’s cold case in 2019 and partnered with the DNA Doe Project. The organization helps law enforcement identify Jane and John Does.
The woman was identified as Patricia “Patsy” Skiple on April 13.
Skiple, of Colton, Oregon, would have been 45 years old. She was also a mother.
“Although this criminal case was adjudicated, detectives never gave up as they worked diligently throughout this investigation to provide closure for the family of Patricia Skiple,” the sheriff’s office said.