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Huntington Beach police chase leads in 'Jane Doe' case

After shoes worn by the victim, who was killed in March 1968, were re-analyzed, authorities believe she may have been from Tioga County, N.Y.

January 18, 2011|By Nate Jackson, Los Angeles Times

Huntington Beach police said they've made a break in an unsolved 1968 slaying by identifying the woman's shoes as a regional brand that was manufactured in upstate New York.

For 43 years, the victim, whose throat had been slashed, has been known only as "Jane Doe." Police said they had no idea what her name was or where the young, dark-haired woman came from.

Now they may be a step closer.

On Sunday, detectives said they had reason to believe Jane Doe was from New York, perhaps from Tioga County.

The shoes the woman was wearing, which were recently re-analyzed, were identified as a brand known as Owego and manufactured by Endicott-Johnson Shoe Co., which had three shoe factories in Tioga County, including in the town of Owego.

Police said they have also heard from several witnesses who identified Jane Doe as a woman named Rosie who worked in Long Beach and went missing about the same time as the March 14, 1968, homicide. Witnesses described that woman as having a strong New York accent.

Detectives said they distributed sketches of Jane Doe to media in New York City and in Tioga County over the weekend.

For years, police worked under the theory that a purse found near the body belonged to the woman and that family photos found tucked inside the purse were probably of relatives.

But after recently putting the photos on the Police Department's Facebook page, detectives said they learned that the purse had been a false lead all along and that the purse belonged to someone else.

But by publishing the photos and the artist's rendering of Jane Doe on the Internet, police said they have revived interest in the case and reached new potential witnesses.

nathan.jackson@latimes.com

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