A shallow grave was her final resting place, and a young man had been buried along with her. They both didn’t have any clothing or personal items with them, making it very difficult to piece together who they were.
After an autopsy had been performed on each of them, it was determined they had been murdered.
They had suffered from blunt force trauma and gunshot wounds before being dumped out there in the desert.
Authorities tried their best to figure out who their Jane and John Does were, but as the years ticked on, they still didn’t have any answers.
As DNA became a more advanced science, authorities were able to submit DNA from their Does to the National DNA database.
Although they had their DNA, no match ever turned up, leaving the Does still without their names.
While authorities were attempting to figure out who the young man and woman were, they narrowed in on someone they thought was connected to their murders.
A man by the name of Howard Neal had lived in Ludlow with his daughter and his wife, but they all moved out of the town not long after the Jane and John Does were unearthed.
The family settled in Mississippi, and they had not lived there for a significant amount of time before Howard murdered 3 people; his brother, his 13-year-old niece, and a 12-year-old friend of hers.
After the murders, Howard and his family were on the move again, this time traveling to Stockton, California. He ended up being arrested for petty theft in March of 1981, and then police learned he had a warrant for his arrest for the murders he had committed.
As this was ongoing, investigators looking into how Jane and John Doe ended up murdered in the desert tried to interview Howard, but his attorney prevented them from doing so.
Ultimately, Howard was convicted of the three murders and sentenced to life in prison, which was later commuted to three consecutive life terms after it was determined that his IQ showed that he was close to being mentally challenged.
When August of 2017 came around, investigators got their chance to finally sit down with Howard and ask the questions they wanted to. Could Howard help them figure out who the Jane and John Does were after all this time?
“He provided very little information; he believed the female victim may have been from Arkansas and had left her young daughter behind before she left to hitchhike across the county,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
“He also indicated the female had what appeared to be a deformed arm. He could not remember anything about the male victim other than he looked like what he described as a “hippie.” He told investigators he picked the couple up while they were hitchhiking on the freeway.”
“He then brought the two to his residence, where he became involved in an argument with the male. The argument stemmed because of Neal attempting to make physical advances toward the female.”
“Neal told investigators the argument became so intense; he felt the male would probably kill him if he did not kill him first. Neal then shot and killed the male.”
Howard ended up assaulting the young woman before murdering her. Howard then drove out to the desert and buried them.
It seemed investigators were not any closer to closing their case, but 41-year-old Christine Marie Salley changed all that.
Christine lives in Virginia, and growing up her parents never kept it a secret that she had been adopted as a child.
Christine contacted a private investigator to help her find her biological mom and dad, and this investigator took a sample of her DNA and submitted it to a database in the hopes of finding some of her family members.
Imagine Christine’s surprise when she learned in December of last year that the young woman who had been found buried in the desert without a name was, in fact, her biological mom.
Last month, another DNA test confirmed that Christine’s mom was 21-year-old Pamela Dianne Duffey.
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department; pictured above is a photo of Pamela
Using information that Christine provided them about her mom, investigators were able to identify the man buried with Pamela as William Everette Lane, who was 20 at the time of his murder.
41 years after being murdered, Pamela and William were given their names back and can finally be laid to rest properly.