Investigation relaunched; can you help identify 1978 murder vict - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Investigation relaunched; can you help identify 1978 murder victims?

Posted: Updated:
Mid-South detectives don't know who the victims are either. Mid-South detectives don't know who the victims are either.
The case file of clues is decades old and severely damaged. The case file of clues is decades old and severely damaged.
Detectives hope the jarring images will jog memories, so that they can find answers to the decades old case. Detectives hope the jarring images will jog memories, so that they can find answers to the decades old case.
  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Deadly Franklin Co. crash under investigation

    Deadly Franklin Co. crash under investigation

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:21 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:21:49 GMT
    The Franklin County Sheriff's Department is investigating after a Sesser man was killed in a crash early Tuesday morning
    The Franklin County Sheriff's Department is investigating after a Sesser man was killed in a crash early Tuesday morning

  • Jury recommends death penalty in 1983 rape-murder

    Jury recommends death penalty in 1983 rape-murder

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:54 AM EDT2014-07-29 12:54:27 GMT
    A Jefferson County jury has recommended the death penalty for a Louisville man convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1983.
    A Jefferson County jury has recommended the death penalty for a Louisville man convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1983.
  • Construction aims to build up business on the Carbondale Strip

    Construction aims to build up business on the Carbondale Strip

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:10 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:10:33 GMT
    The face of the Carbondale Strip is changing in a way city leaders say will help revitalize the downtown area.The old 710 Bookstore building is gone. In its place, several pieces of heavy equipment thatzigzaggg across a hole that’s about one-square block in size.Crews are laying the groundwork for what will be the Carbondale Flats development.“They’re drilling caissons, and putting up pilings now,” said Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity. “They’ll start doing sub-surface draining and then st...
    The face of the Carbondale Strip is changing in a way city leaders say will help revitalize the downtown area.The old 710 Bookstore building is gone. In its place, several pieces of heavy equipment thatzigzaggg across a hole that’s about one-square block in size.Crews are laying the groundwork for what will be the Carbondale Flats development.“They’re drilling caissons, and putting up pilings now,” said Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity. “They’ll start doing sub-surface draining and then st...

(WMC) - Detectives in two Mid-South counties launched a new investigation into a murder case that has haunted many in the Mid-South for years. But detectives hope the jarring images will jog memories, in hopes that you can help them find answers to the decades old case.

In 1978, the bodies of "John and Jane Doe" were discovered 15 miles apart on a stretch of Interstate 55 in Arkansas. What makes matters worse is that the case file of clues is severely damaged. A flood in Mississippi County, Ark. damaged many morgue photos, witness statements, fingerprints, and more.

"The water damage that we had makes it difficult to read everything," said Mississippi County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Preston Williams.

Clues were washed away in the case Williams is determined to crack.

"And it may be here. There's just a lot of papers that got wet in the center part ... Destroyed and I just don't know," he said.

The documents tell the story of a young couple murdered along a stretch of I-55 in the summer of 1978.

"I just remember when I was a teenager a farmer was driving his tractor down the access road. He looked over the edge of the highway and saw a body," said resident Mike Sullivan.

The body of a young woman was found near the Burdette exit in Mississippi County, Ark. Another body—a man between the age of 25 and early 30s—was discovered 15 miles away in Pemiscot County, Missouri.

Both of the victims were shot and to this day, neither of them have a name.

"She probably has a family alive, and I'd like to know who she is. And so does he. Somebody wants to know what happened to their family members," said Williams.

Though the case file is damaged, there's still plenty known about Jane and John Doe.

Investigators say the woman gave birth at some point. She appears to be between 18 and 25 years old, and she was wearing a mercury dime necklace. She had the name "Kim" crudely tattooed on her right arm.

She was shot on the left side of her head. The man, who was missing several teeth, was shot three times: twice in the neck and once in the back of the head.

The couple was last seen at a Blytheville truck stop restaurant called Scotty's, which is now a vacant lot. Detectives believe a man, who worked for a Blytheville car dealership, dropped them off there. No one knows how long or how well the couple knew the man.

"I don't really know, no I don't," said Williams when asked if the driver was a suspect. "They [residents] had talked about him. They had questioned people about him. Then they found out he left town."

According to investigators, a woman who worked at Scotty's remembered seeing the couple. She saw the woman with a backpack and bedding and told her she had to take that outside, because it was not allowed inside. She said they were dressed neatly for hitch hikers.

The last time they were seen alive was by a trucker who saw them walking down the interstate.

Investigators believe the shootings likely happened in Missouri where the man's body was found. The woman was dumped in a field in Mississippi County.

"There is a theory that it was possibly a serial killer, but nobody has ever admitted to that," said Williams."Several were caught. I believe the I-40 serial killer or something of that nature, I don't believe he was ever caught or arrested. Both of those were strangulations though."

Through the years people have come forward looking for missing loved ones, but the murdered couple has never matched any descriptions.

Williams, who keeps an artist's sketch of Jane Doe on the wall in his office, hopes fresh eyes on the case might be the key to solving the crime.

"It would mean the world to me. I'd love to know that somebody was able to put closure to where my family member is," said Williams.

If you think you know anything about the 1978 murders of Jane and John Doe along Interstate 55 in Northeast Arkansas, please call 870-658-2242 or any law enforcement office.

You can go deeper inside the case through this interactive case file, which includes more photos and case file documents: http://www.wmctv.com/link/693170/john-and-jane-doe-case-file?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass.

Get the latest from WMC Action News 5 anytime: iPhone | iPad | Android | SMS Alerts | Email Alerts | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved. 

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.