Home » Santa Cruz Jane Doe, 1957: Severed Head Found In California
A woman has gone unidentified for decades and authorities do not have much information to work with. Unfortunately, like many of the cases that often fall in the cracks over the years, Santa Cruz Jane Doe 1957 has been long since forgotten. As many lovers were still reeling from Valentine’s Day celebrations on February 15, 1957, a gruesome discovery was being uncovered in the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, California.
Details regarding this case are few and far between, but it has been reported that the severed head of Santa Cruz Jane Doe 1957 was found skeletonized, wrapped in a paper bag, and buried in a shallow grave. The person or persons responsible for locating the remains is unknown, but the severed head was reportedly located in the Pajaro River Levee. Investigators reportedly suspected that she had died sometime the year prior, up to 90 days before she was found.
Only the skull was found and it is unknown what happened to her body. A cause of death could not be determined, but due to the state in which the skull was found, homicide is suspected. There have not been any forensic artist renderings of this victim, so there are no photos on hand that could give a glimpse into what she may have looked like.
A news report from 1957 shows that the victim was listed as a “Negro woman” with “Negro hair.” It was suspected that she may have been 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, but without a body, that could not be verified. The report also stated that she may have been of a “medium build” with “light muscles.”
At the time of her death, Santa Cruz Jane Doe 1957 may have been anywhere from 28 to 52-years-old. Her height and weight could not be calculated, and her hair and eye colors could not be determined. She reportedly had a gold upper front tooth (pictured) and five of her teeth were missing.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office—Coroner Division at (831) 454-7792 or their local authorities. The agency case number is 57-00651.
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