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TN DAVIDSON COUNTY JANE DOE: F, 14-17, found in Harpeth River in TN - 1976 - Sherry/Cheryl? *GRAPHIC*

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by PLT, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. PLT

    PLT Member


    Photos of an unidentified girl discovered in 1976 in Nashville's Harpeth River, provided by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

    Mole on left temple area. Her left "fang" tooth was oddly positioned and may heighten the chance of positive identification. Two surgical type scars on her abdomen area and old scars (possibly cigarette burns) on both arms.

    Clothing on body: Blue jeans, bra
    Jewelry: A choker type necklace with beads and a white dove. A rawhide bracelet.

    A blue blouse was discovered in the river the day after the victim's body was discovered, but it is unclear if it belonged to the victim.

    NASHVILLE -- On March 24, 1976, a fisherman discovered the body of a teenage girl face down in shallow water in the Harpeth River in Nashville, Tennessee.

    She had been dead less than 24 hours.

    The girl's body had washed up against a branch in the rural river - typically standing less than two feet unless heavy rains swell the waterways, according to police. Her blouse had been removed, and there was bruising on her legs and breast.

    Later, an autopsy determined the girl, between 14 and 17 years old, had drowned. But whether someone held her down - and perhaps sexually assaulted her - isn't known.

    Was she a murder victim? Who would have wanted her dead? Was it possible she could have become intoxicated and drowned accidentally? And most importantly, who was she?

    Nearly 40 years later, police are still searching for answers to these questions.

    "I'm sure someone is out there wondering where their daughter, sister, or aunt is that's been missing all this time," Det. Jill Weaver, who works on the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department's cold case unit, told 48 Hours' Crimesider.

    Weaver, who took over the case last year, is hoping to shed some light on the mystery of the girl's death. Though investigators don't know who she is, they do have several key clues about her movements in the days leading up to her death thanks to a phone number detectives discovered scrawled on a photograph in her pocket.

    The phone number was written on the back of a picture of a young blond boy, next to the name, "Little Charley." But Little Charley turned out not to be the boy pictured in the photograph, as investigators would learn when they called the number and got in touch with him days after the teen's death.

    "Little Charley" was in fact Charles Moore, a 24-year-old East Nashville resident who lived with his father, known as "Big Charley." Moore told detectives that he and his brother-in-law Milton Collins had been driving southeast along Interstate 24 near Nashville in Collins' truck March 15, 1976 - nine days before the girl's body was found -- when he said they came across two young female hitchhikers.

    According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(NCMEC), Moore told investigators at the time that he and Collins picked up the two teen girls, who said they were traveling to Haines City, Florida, about 700 miles southeast of Nashville.

    Moore and Collins later identified the female's body as one of the girls to whom they'd given a lift. According to Moore, she called herself "Sherry" or "Cheryl," but he didn't have any further information about her identity, or that of her friend.

    The girls said they ran away from a treatment facility - believed to be in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, according to Det. Weaver - where "Sherry" said she was staying to be treated for alcoholism. Her friend, described as thin, with sandy blonde hair and wire-rimmed glasses - told them she was being treated for suicidal tendencies and showed them scars on her wrists, according to NCMEC.

    They were on their way to Florida, according to Moore, to visit the friend's husband.

    Moore had written his phone number on the only scrap of paper they had available - a photo of the traveling companion's son - in case the girls ever passed through the area again, according to Weaver.

    They dropped the teens near a highway exit about 85 miles southeast of Nashville and last saw them getting into another vehicle, continuing on southeast.

    The girl's body was discovered some 90 miles from where Moore last saw them, in the opposite direction of where she said she was traveling.

    Now 63, Moore was interviewed by police at the time, and again within the past two years by another cold case detective, Weaver said. Police don't believe he or Collins, now deceased, were involved.

    Weaver says the bruising on the girl's body and the condition of her clothes -- the missing blouse and unbuttoned pants-- would have led her to investigate the case as a sexual assault and homicide. Investigators searched the area for clues, and discovered what could have been her blouse a few miles upstream.

    But they couldn't find hospital records indicating any patients had escaped from facilities near St. Paul, according to a 1976 Nashville Banner article. And they weren't able to locate the traveling companion Moore described.

    Without further information or an identity, the case has gone cold.

    Dental records and fingerprints run against national databases so far haven't yielded clues to the girl's identity, according to Todd Matthews, director of communications and case management at the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system.

    DNA testing could be the key, but that would require an exhumation of the girl's body, Matthews said.

    "Everything else has been done - the one missing ingredient, the number one gold standard, is DNA," Matthews told Crimesider.

    Exhumation, however, isn't possible because grave markers in the cemetery where the girl's body was buried have been moved over the years, and it's not clear exactly her body is located, Weaver said.

    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children developed a facial composite image of the victim (see above), hoping someone may recognize the girl based on it.

    Crimesider is also making available for viewing these post-mortem police photographs of the victim, because authorities consider them the key to solving the case.

    "The photographs are really the best thing we have to go on right now to make a positive identification," Weaver said.

    NCMEC describes the deceased girl as being of Caucasian, Hispanic or Native American decent. She had long, black hair and brown eyes. She was short and thin, about five feet, two inches and 120 pounds.

    She was found wearing a choker style necklace with beads and a white dove on it. She had a mole on her left temple and old scars on both arms which may have come from cigarette burns, according to NCMEC.

    Do you have any information about a girl named "Sherry" or "Cheryl" who vanished in the 1970s? Do you recognize the girl in the photo? Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-843-5678.

    spike and Kimster like this.
  2. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    What an interesting case. This one has a lot more clues than we usually have to work with.
    spike likes this.
  3. Sunburst

    Sunburst Bronze Member

    Could the girl with the wire rimmed glasses be Janet Kramer? She ran away from a facility in Willmar, MN in 1971 at age 13. On cell cannot link to Janet's info.
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
    fawnnah and spike like this.
  4. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    NAMUS - https://www.namus.gov/UnidentifiedPersons/Case#/8494

    Mole on left temple area. Her left "fang" tooth was oddly positioned and may heighten the chance of positive identification. Two surgical type scars on her abdomen area and old scars (possibly cigarette burns) on both arms.

    Other distinctive physical characteristic: very large breasts for her estimated age

    Accessories: Black comb and 1 nickel. A small photograph of a male white child. On the rear of the photograph, "Little Charlie" was written. Near the Body

    Clothing: Blue jeans, bra, On the Body
    A blue blouse was discovered in the river the day after the victim's body was discovered, but it is unclear if it belonged to the victim. Near the Body

    Jewelry: A choker type necklace with beads and a white dove. A rawhide bracelet. On the Body

    NCMEC - http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMU/1167334/1/screen

    On March 24, 1976 the female victim was found in the Harpeth River in Davidson County, TN. The decedent had been deceased less than 24 hours.

    She is a Caucasian, Hispanic or Native American female between the ages of 14 to 17 years old. She had long black hair and stood about 5’02” tall.

    She was found wearing a choker style necklace with beads and a white dove on it. She had a mole on her left temple and old scars on both arms which may have come from cigarette burns.

    Prior to her death the victim was hitchhiking with another Caucasian female. The girls stated that they were heading to Haines City, FL to visit the companion’s family. The female companion was described to be around the same age with sandy blonde hair and wore wire rim glasses, but was never located or interviewed regarding this decedent. The girls mentioned that they had just ran away from an institution up north that would have treated substance abuse and mental health problems.

    The unidentified female’s name may be Sherry or Cheryl.

    The images above are a facial reconstruction completed by a NCMEC Forensic Artist and depicts what the female may have looked like in life. The necklace shown is an artistic representation of what the necklace may have looked like but is not an exact replica.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Kimster and spike like this.
  5. fawnnah

    fawnnah New Member

    Came up with a few people who could be Jane doe's companion as well as a few UID's for the companion *(If she is in fact missing)
    Will be updating daily...

    Rose Lena Cole
    Lori Jean Lloyd
    Kim Mallon
    Janet Kramer
    Linda Sue Nickell
    Rosemary E. Hamilton Buck
    Helen Irene Allison
    Teresa Lyn Fittin
    Sarah Rachel Tokier
    Sherry Elizabeth Roach

    Sunburst likes this.
  6. fawnnah

    fawnnah New Member

    Kimster likes this.
  7. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

  8. Victoria C.

    Victoria C. New Member

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
    Kimster and SheWhoMustNotBeNamed like this.
  9. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Sometimes it depends on their lifestyle. And in some cases the families truly believe that their missing loved ones don't want to be found.

    :welcome:. We're thankful to have you here!
  10. Victoria C.

    Victoria C. New Member

    I understand why some people are never reported missing or identified. I just find it very sad for the victims and the victim's poor families.
    KareBear and Kimster like this.
  11. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I couldn't agree with you more. :tears:

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