Investigative genealogy used to identify victims of California’s ‘Happy Faced Killer’ found near Gilroy Expressway in 1993

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) – A new investigative technique has been used to help identify the victim of a serial killer dubbed the Happy Face Killer nearly 30 years after her body was abandoned. near the Gilroy Freeway, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

During a press conference Tuesday, officials said they used a DNA database called GEDmatch to identify the woman. After finding a match, they were able to identify the victim as Patricia Skiple.

For nearly three decades, Gloria White wondered what had happened to her sister. Finally, she is closing the door.

“The detective came to my house and the first thing I did was look at her and know that Patsy was gone forever. It was hard to hold on to anything,” White said.

In 1993, the body of a woman in a blue shirt was found on the side of Highway 152 near Gilroy. She was sexually assaulted and her body was left on the Pacheco Pass.

Authorities called her Jane Doe “Blue Pacheco.”

For decades, investigators with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office tried to identify her. Her family is constantly searching.

“You look every time you go somewhere. You look at people to see if you see the person, but we never saw her,” White said.

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Patricia, whom her family nicknames “Patsy”, is a mother of two and a resident of Oregon.

Her sister said Patricia argued with her husband and left in the middle of the night. At the time of her murder, she was approximately 45 years old.

“We had raised hopes that she would be alive,” White said.

In 2006, Keith Hunter Jesionary, better known as the “Happy Faced Killer,” sent a letter to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office admitting the offence. He was known by the nickname because he drew a happy face on his letters to the authorities.

In 2007, he pleaded guilty to “killing an unidentified female subject along a turn on Highway 152,” according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. The victim has yet to be identified until this year.

“When we first looked at it, we thought, ‘it’s going to be too hard to solve this, we might not succeed.” But then thanks to the cooperation of that law enforcement agency (SCCSO), they were very helpful and encouraged people to upload GEDmatch and that brought us one step closer and again to the end. when we finally found the candidate,” said Cairenn Binder, forensic genealogist with the Doe DNA Project.

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Cairenn Binder with the nonprofit DNA Doe Project was one of the team leaders who sorted dozens of DNA matches to identify Patricia.

Binder said: “I hope that it gives Patricia some dignity to have her name on.

As Gloria finds peace in knowing what happened to her sister Patricia, she hopes detectives will solve another crime that has puzzled her for decades.

“I have a daughter who also disappeared. Also, a little before that. We had never heard of Marty. But when I spoke to detectives in California, she knew Marty’s name. She knows that they used to speak White.

The “happy-faced killer” is a truck driver who claims to have killed more than 100 people. Eight cases have been confirmed. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. Copyright Registered. Investigative genealogy used to identify victims of California’s ‘Happy Faced Killer’ found near Gilroy Expressway in 1993


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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