DNA Technology Leads to Breakthrough in Identifying 90s Serial Killer Victim with Possible Southwest Louisiana Ties

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. – After more than 30 years, a cold case involving the murder of a Jane Doe victim may have ties to Southwest Louisiana. Thanks to advancements in DNA technology, investigators are close to identifying the victim.

The woman is one of eight victims murdered by Keith Hunter Jesperson, also known as the Happy Face Killer, from 1990 to 1995 across several different states. She was referred to as Claudia, though that may not be her real name, and had hitchhiked a ride from Jesperson, who was a truck driver at the time. Her body was found in August 1992 along U.S. 95 several miles north of Blythe, California.

Mr. Jesperson is currently in prison in Oregon and faces multiple successive prosecutions of these eight women, including the unidentified victim. Investigators have been able to determine who the woman’s father was, along with several half-siblings who are not aware of her. However, genetic mapping indicates the woman’s maternal side of the family might be located in or near Southwest Louisiana.

With a combination of Jesperson’s description, technology, and her remains, the woman is believed to have had shaggy blonde or brown hair. She was 20 to 30 years old in 1992 and was about 5′6 to 5′7 with a medium build, weighing around 140 to 150 pounds. She wore a motorcycle t-shirt and had two small dots tattooed on her left thumb. Relatives or anyone who believes they may be related to this woman are asked to consider contacting GedMatch for DNA comparisons.

The Cold Case Hotline can be reached at (951) 955-5567, or by emailing coldcaseunit@rivcoda.org. The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team includes the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department, the FBI, and the Riverside Police Department.