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CA SACRAMENTO JOHN DOE: M, 18-30, found in Sacramento, CA - 17 Jan 1980

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1980 to 1989' started by Scorpio, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member



    The victim was located on a set of bleachers at Southside Park sports field in Sacramento, California on January 17, 1980 after an anonymous phone call to police. He had been shot at close range just prior to his discovery.

    Workers at a Burger King restaurant inside the Greyhound Bus Station remembered the victim and recalled he claimed to have recently come to the area from Los Angeles.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2018
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    The victim was wearing a blue, down-filled “LeCheveron Collection” jacket, light blue denim cap with short bill, navy blue sweater, jeans, Adidas tennis shoes (blue with gold stripes) size 9 with the letters “HS” scrawled in ink inside the shoes.

    On January 17, 1980, the victim was discovered sitting on the bleachers of a local softball diamond, shot once in the head. The victim was a White male (possibly Hispanic), estimated to be in his mid-20s. He had dark brown hair, a goatee and a mustache. He had numerous stretch marks on his chest, abdomen, and arms, indicating he was possibly obese at one time. He also had several scars on the fingers of his left hand which appeared to be skin grafts. He had a partial denture plate on his upper front incisors (his top four front teeth were false). All dental work appeared to have been recent, as little as one week prior to his death. His appendix had been surgically removed in the past. The victim appears to have been a smoker.

    Submit a Tip:
    If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

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  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Investigating Agency(s)
    Agency Name: Sacramento County Coroner's Office
    Agency Contact Person: N/A
    Agency Phone Number: 916-874-9257
    Agency E-Mail: coronerweb@saccounty.net
    Agency Case Number: 80-0117

    Agency Name: Department of Justice Missing Persons DNA Program
    Agency Contact Person: Jeannine Willie
    Agency Phone Number: 916-227-5997
    Agency E-Mail: jeannine.willie@doj.ca.gov
    Agency Case Number: Unknown

    NCIC Case Number: U480006015
    NamUs Case Number: 2410
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  5. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

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  6. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Workers at a Burger King restaurant inside the Greyhound Bus Station remembered the victim and recalled he claimed to have recently come to the area from Los Angeles.
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  7. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    I find this case intriguing for multiple reasons. Unlike most murder cases where a victim is found hours, days, weeks, etc. after they've been killed, this man had only been dead for a matter of minutes when he was discovered. His face and body would have been unusually "fresh" (so to speak) and easy to identify, yet no one has. He was well-dressed with recent dental work and was most certainly not a transient. I do find it odd though that no actual post-mortem pics were released considering how recently he died. The sketches aren't bad, but they kind of look like he should be a character in a cheesy 70s cartoon show or comic strip.

    Burger King employees stated that he mentioned that he had recently arrived from LA. I wonder in what context he said this. Was it just basic small talk to the cashier while he waited for his order? Or was he conversing with another patron and the employees just happened to overhear him? Did he say anything else that may have been a clue? Fast food restaurants, particularly those in places like bus stations and airports, are usually pretty busy, so there must have been something that made this particular man stand out in the minds of the employees who see hundreds of customers come and go daily. If the Burger King cup was found near his body, he probably was just there before he died. Perhaps that's why they remember him so well.

    His body was found in an empty stadium at around 9pm. What was he (and his killer, for that matter) doing there? That doesn't sound like a place you go to at that hour without a specific reason, and you almost certainly wouldn't just accidentally get lost and wander in even if you're new to the area. Could he have been involved in a drug deal gone wrong? I just can't really think of any other reason why this man would have been essentially trespassing in the sports arena after dark.

    What I find particularly curious is the anonymous phone call to police. Since his death occured so shortly before police arrived, I think it's very possible that the caller either witnessed the murder or was even the killer himself/herself. When they say "minutes prior" for his time of death, I take it they mean less than an hour or else they would have just said "x hours prior". In an empty stadium at that time of night, who else would have entered in such a narrow window of time to discover the victim?

    Sadly, with this case being close to 40 years old, I have a feeling that the answers to at least some of these questions have been lost to time.
  8. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Good thoughts, @Bobby88 !

    I think the "stadium" he was found in was just a field at a local park, like for youth sports. Southside Park sports field in Sacramento, California - https://www.cityofsacramento.org/ParksandRec/Parks/Park-Directory/Central-City/Southside-Park Obviously this has changed in almost 40 years but its a city park. Wouldn't really be trespassing in a stadium.

    But I agree with the rest of your thoughts. Also, why did he leave LA? Was he having issues with someone, and maybe this person found or followed him?
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  9. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    Well, the size of the "stadium" changes everything. In fact, since it's so small and local, that would make it even more risky for someone to have shot him there even at night. I wonder if anyone heard gunshots. Maybe the caller did and that's what prompted them to call rather than them witnessing anything firsthand. Although I still tend to lean more toward the fact that they knew something.

    I never actually thought about why the victim may have left LA if that part of his story was true. If he was there to visit someone, that person would had to have immediately noticed he was missing unless they didn't know he was coming and he hadn't arrived at their place yet. Could the person he was going to see have been the one who killed him?

    I just don't think this was a random act of violence. Again, it seems as though he went to the park for a specific reason or was lured there by his killer. Drugs or some other illegal activity feels like the only thing that makes total sense here.
  10. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    I think they would have mentioned if he had any money on him. Could he have been robbed? Shooting someone in the head seems extreme for that.

    I have a feeling that this man may never have been reported missing. Perhaps he was estranged from his family and had no real close ties. The apparent weight loss and dental work make me wonder if he was trying to kind of reinvent himself and start a new life. I wonder if he was legitimately trying to improve himself (i.e., he was the fat kid growing up and now as a young adult transformed himself into a slim, confident stud decked out in expensive threads) or if he was trying to disguise himself in order to evade someone who ended up finding and killing him anyway.

    His clothing was on the expensive side and he seems like he was extremely meticulous and color-coordinated. I tried to look up some of his clothing to get an idea of what they looked like (and I love looking at vintage 70s clothes anyway) and was able to find some late 70s Adidas shoes that appear similar to what he had on. Still in style now.

  11. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Here's his NamUs link. Didn't see it here yet - https://www.namus.gov/UnidentifiedPersons/Case#/2410


    scars on left hand between middle and ring fingers
    Numerous stretch marks on chest, abdomen, and arms indicating he was possibly obese at one time and lost a large amount of weight.

    Accessories: Salem brand cigarette pack and white bic lighter - Near the Body
    Clothing: blue, down filled, “LeCheveron Collection” jacket, size 38, very dirty condition; a long sleeve navy blue sweater “Sigallo” brand size medium, with a grey collar; light blue jeans; and a light blue denim cap with a short bill - On the Body
    Eyewear: pair of glasses near victim on bleachers
    Footwear: Addidas athletic shoes, blue with gold stripes, size 9 letters "HS" scrawled inside shoes - On the Body

    7 Missing Person Exclusions
    Edward Hunsberger, PA
    Jose Espinoza, CA
    Gustavo Cabrera, CA
    Gus Hoffman, CA
    Eloy Garcia, CA
    Donald Ewalt, CA
    Douglas Armstrong, CA
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  12. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Was thinking he may have been transient. With the "very dirty" jacket, initials scrawled on the inside of his shoes....

    But then there's this, like you also mentioned @Bobby88 , which makes me think otherwise:

    Could he have lost his job within that week? Had a relationship fall apart within that week? Felt the immediate need to "get away" within that week?
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  13. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    When they initially said "dirty blue" in the clothing description on other sites, I thought the were referring to a grayish-blue which is sometimes called dirty blue.[​IMG]

    But after reading "very dirty condition", you may be onto something. I wonder if the rest of his clothes appeared dirty or worn out. Perhaps, despite the brand names, they were second hand and therefore much more affordable. Did his body appear unkempt or dirty? This is why I wish we had more information about the Burger King sighting. When the employees saw him, did he look disheveled or dirty? How was his behavior? If he volunteered that he was from LA, he sounds like he would have been friendly and talkative. But once again, we don't know the context in which that fact was brought up or to whom he said it.

    If he was homeless, I don't think he had been for very long.
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  14. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    Someone else on another board where I've posted this case suggested that his dirty jacket and initials inside the shoes may indicate that he was recently released from a drug rehab. If his killing was in fact drug related like I suspect, could he have fallen off the wagon and gone to score drugs? Or maybe he was trying to stay clean but still owed someone money? I think a big key in finding his killer (besides finding his identity of course) is figuring out why he was in this field at that hour.

    When I first saw his sketch, I thought he resembled Johnnie Joe Herrera, who went missing from Oxnard, CA on August 27, 1971. But the time gap makes it pretty unlikely.
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  15. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I did a cold case segment on Joe Herrera a LONG time ago. Someone came to me afterward and led me to believe that he didn't go far from the area where he was last seen, but you never know!
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  16. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    It may have been me. I started a HUGE thread on Johnnie's case on Websleuths in 2010 and he's still kind of my pet case. This definitely isn't him. For one thing, the John Doe was 5'8" to 5'10" and Johnnie was only about 5'5" to 5'6". At 20 years old, I can't imagine that he was still growing height-wise and could have shot up another three inches. And it just wouldn't make sense. Johnnie walks away from his wife and son to start in new life in LA, which is only about an hour away from Oxnard? In the eight-and-a-half-year interim, he got fat, his teeth rotted out, lost the weight, got his teeth fixed, only to get shot in what is essentially a neighborhood sports field in Sacramento (six hours from Oxnard, but still within the same state)? Nah.

    I wonder if anyone else at the bus station talked to him or noticed anything about him. Surely the Burger King staff aren't the only people he would have spoken to. I wonder if anyone saw or talked to him in the days prior to his death. That could be a very important clue.
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  17. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Oh! It might have been you. :highfive:
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  18. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    When you say Cold Case segment, are you referring to the highlighted Case of the Week thing on Websleuths? Or is it something else?

    I wonder if I should make a missing persons thread for Johnnie here.

    But back to our John Doe, his case kind of reminds me of the suicide victim calling herself Mary Anderson who was found in a Seattle hotel room in 1996. She was very well-groomed, had decent clothes and clearly wasn't homeless. Yet, like our Doe, she apparently hasn't been missed despite having had the means to support herself which would have certainly put her in contact with people such as bank tellers, doctors, store clerks, and probably most importantly, employers. Very sad.

    If John Doe was in fact involved in drugs or some type of illicit activity, perhaps his family disowned him completely and that's why no one has come forward. Perhaps he was originally from Sacramento, went to live in LA, got clean and was returning home to make amends to his family but was killed. His family, having written him off, would not have had any idea he was coming and would have had no reason to look for him.
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  19. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Yes, the old "Kimster's Cold Case of the Week". In each case, I did look into the cases more than what was published. I don't remember all the details now, but I do remember a response afterwards telling me that they thought Johnnie was closer to home.

    It would be great if you could find the time to make a thread for him here. :)

    Another theory with this doe that I've come up with is perhaps he was suffering from some kind of mental illness and his family didn't know how to deal with it. That's a problem in this country to this day.
  20. Bobby88

    Bobby88 Member

    Mental illness is a good theory. There's still a big stigma about mental illness even today; in the 70s and 80s, it must have been excruciating to have to deal with. Even something as treatable as depression or anxiety would have been seen as an embarrassment to the family. It's also a known fact that the mentally ill or impaired are more at risk for being victimized than most.

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