I accidentally stumbled across this case which was near my hometown.
I feel incredibly bad for this woman, everyone seems to have forgotten her, and her death makes no sense.
I would really like to find out if anyone can shed more light on it, any help or observations would be appreciated. Some of it is kind of weird…
The first thing I found was this Wikipedia entry about the case:
“The decomposed body of a female, deceased for approximately three to six days, was discovered by construction workers on September 19, 1990 at a location known as “Chapel Hill” in Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina. As the remains were found near the New Hope Church Exit, the victim was nicknamed as “Hope.” The victim was a Caucasian female, aged fourteen to twenty-five, most likely between eighteen and twenty-two. She had shoulder-length brown or strawberry-blond hair with streaks that appeared to have been frosted blond and was cut in layers. She had also had her appendix removed at some point in life, as a scar was noted on her abdomen. Some cavities were found in the victim’s mouth, yet she had some dental care in life, as some “restorations” were visible. The victim’s wisdom teeth had yet to erupt. Other examinations of the remains indicated she did not appear to have ever broken or fractured a bone or had a child. The female was found clothed in only a pink shirt decorated with cartoon-style rabbits riding unicycles, a bra and white socks that were noticeably clean, indicating that she had worn shoes, likely around size six, but they had since been removed.
Days before the remains were found, a female matching the description of the female was seen walking along Interstate 85, near the city of Burlington. Damage to the victim’s neck indicated she was likely strangled and the case was ruled as murder, which has yet to be solved. It is possible that the female was hitchhiking.
The female was between five feet three and five feet five inches tall and was between 110 and 115 pounds in life. Jewelry on the body included a ring and a bracelet both made from metal.”
Then I tried to locate the ring and shirt shown in the photos.
The ring looked handmade and I didn’t have any luck so I focused on the sweatshirt.
However, after searching for a bit it was clear that I was going to need help.
If anyone has seen the shirt let me know.
The strangest thing to me is that she was found half nude, perhaps like she was running away from someone, but her socks were clean.
Why would someone take her shoes or put new socks on her?
Also clearly this woman had some money before her death (frosted hair was not cheap in the 90’s) and she had enough money for medical care so I don’t think that she was homeless, or at least homeless for very long, yet no one reported her.
I lived in the area in the decade after and I know from experience that the prostitutes usually work in the “massage parlor,” not the street corner.
It could be a crime of opportunity, but again why the shoes then?
Has anyone heard of another case like this?
- Estimated age: 15-25 years old, (likely 20 +/- 2)
- Approximate Height and Weight: 5’3″; 105-115 lbs
- Distinguishing Characteristics: Strawberry blonde hair, appeared to be layer cut to about shoulder length, possibly frosted; unknown eye color. 3″ scar on lower right quadrant (no appendix).
- Dentals: X-rays available. Wisdom teeth unerupted; teeth #s 3, 14, 19, had amalgam restorations; teeth #23-26 tilted to the lingual, and tooth #28 was in a lingual crossbite. Caries on 2, 15, 18.
- Clothing: Pink sweatshirt with three bunnies on the front (2 bunnies on bicycles, one on a unicycle), brand name of “Sportswear”; size 34 (A, B, C cup) bra, brand name of “Warner”; pair white anklet socks, very clean on the bottom; thin yellow metal ring on left ring finger, and a thin twisted metal bracelet on left wrist. Shoe size approximately 6-6 1/2.
- Fingerprints: Not available
- X-rays: Multiple body xrays available. No signs of previous fractures, no signs of ever giving birth.
- DNA: mtDNA available in CODIS
If you have any information about this case please contact:
Orange County Sheriff’s Office
You may remain anonymous when submitting information.
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
Additional observations and chatter from r/unsolved mysteries
Going through the links gives a little bit more information. Death was an estimated four to six day prior. She was unidentifiable due to decomposition. She was found down an embankment by a road clean up crew.
Which leads me to think she may have been thrown down there, but possibly was carried. Her clean socks and missing shoes means she definitely didn’t walk or run.
The shoes could have just been forgotten about and disposed of later. Or it could be an indication of trophy hunting or a sexual fetish for shoes and footwear. Her lower clothing and undergarments are missing too. As is any purse, personal items, or ID.
There is also a possible sighting of a matching woman at a near by truck stop.
Maybe she was hitchhiking or prostituting at the truck stop. No one knows her, know one knows her location. Ran into the wrong guy. Sad. I also wish they’d do a better facial reconstruction, the one they have looks deformed.
Has anyone else heard of any similar cases? I would think that if someone was sick enough to do this once, they could be sick enough to do it again. I figured her socks and shirt would have been dirty if she was thrown or rolled. Honestly, I just wish I could identify her. She deserves to have her name back. The picture is really bad. Unfortunately, the police departments were pretty small in that area at the time. I think most people have just forgotten her. The best bet might be to find the shirt, or a picture of someone wearing the bracelet/ring but it’s such a long shot.
I don’t think there is a connection but I can’t help but think of Orange Socks.
That is kind of strange, there are a lot of differences, but both woman were about the same age, weight, and height. The body disposal method is similar too.
And both strangled
Some people seem to think, that it could be Martha Dunn, who was from Texas….
It seems like it would be pretty easy to rule Martha out by asking if she still had her appendix.
It makes me wish there was a better forensic drawing of what she looked like. The two seem pretty disparate.
I haven’t seen anything that says it explicitly, but I think she must have been very decomposed. They couldn’t give much of an age range either.
I’m working on a theory, I’ll post it when it’s proofread for any hole, but what I’m thinking is that it was an accident, she was a prostitute and her ‘client’ was into auto erotic exfixiation and accidently killed her.
Here are a few more links with more information including a picture of the bracelet: http://charleyproject.org/cases/d/dunn_martha.html http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/558ufnc.html
What I’m think is that she was a prostitute who was a victim of auto-erotic exfixiation. My proof is that she was strangled to death, and she was found half naked (also if they found any DNA then it would have been somewhere on our sources) I also think that she was very poor, so she had to wear cheap shirts like the pink bunny shirt. She was found 3-6 days after strangulation which could mean her client was freaking out and didn’t know what to do with the body. Her bracelet had been homemade, because it was hard for her to own jewellery (my personal opion is that it looks like something you would put on a lamp.) the socks I haven’t found an explanation for yet, even some of the theories I’ve had about them have been long shots. Maybe it was cold that day in a hotel or motel room, so she wore socks- like I said, it’s a stretch. With all the clothing in this theory is a stretch, I’m pretty much thinking that the client didn’t know what to do with the body so he didn’t put clothes on her because they must have thought that there was no point.
I could see it, but again the socks? It is such an odd detail. They were clean enough for them to note in the report.
Yeah, it does seem like the socks are a crucial detail, I’ve been thinking of a couple theories, and sadly they’ve all been long shots. I’ve thought of maybe she had a foot infection (like an ingrown toe nail) and she don’t want to show the client, but then again why would it be clean? I mean, with my previous comment I said she was very poor, so why would she have socks that are so clean that the police would have to make note of it? Now, if my theory is true (for atleast the part about her being poor) then it is obvious the killer put those socks on her. also, if you were a prostitute, you would probably be wearing heels which don’t need socks. Another theory which I saw arpsazombie put up is a foot fetish theory, but a big question is why she’s wearing sock? If the killer did have a foot fetish then wouldn’t there be no socks? Maybe he has the exact opposite of a foot fetish: he may actually dislike feet. But that one’s a long shot too, since he would probably put shoes on her to cover up more of her foot. but I want to go back to my last theory, I support that more than the other one. So, the socks a are very clean, but why? I think the socks were bought straight off store shelves, because when you clean socks they don’t become 100% clean, there can still be a shade of dirt. But off store shelves they would be brand new and dirt free. That’s all I’ve come up with so far, let me know what you think.