Her body, already badly decomposed, was discovered by blackberry pickers on August 14, 1977, in what was then a field near 115th St. SW and 1st Ave. S. near Everett.
There was no identification on the body, just a handful of personal effects, including a Timex wristwatch. The Herald newspaper ran stories about the mystery, including a sketch of the girl.
No one came forward to claim her. Fifteen years after she was discovered, investigators took their search for her family public again. Working from a cast of the victim’s skull, a forensic artist created a model of what the young woman could have looked like. But that model made the victim look more like a young woman than a girl.
PHOTOS: Washington's Missing Children
The victim of Snohomish County case number 77-17073 remained unknown.
Thirty-six years later, that's still true. Somewhere, the family of a young woman missing since 1977 may be wondering what happened to their loved one.
Snohomish County Det. Jim Scharf wants to solve the mystery of the identity of a girl he calls “precious Jane Doe” -- "I started calling her 'Precious Jane Doe' because somebody loved this girl and cared about her,” Scharf said.
Scharf is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which recently made the case a top priority. “It definitely can be solved, it just needs the right person to see the photo and recognize this girl,” said Rebecca Kovar, Public Relations Manager for NCMEC.
In 2008 Scharf had Jane Doe’s bones tested. Experts were able to more accurately determine her age – between 15 and 19. A new sketch of the girl was produced at that time, and, more importantly for Scharf, a DNA sample was obtained from the girl’s bones.
Narrowing the victim’s age could explain why there’s no record in the national data bank of runaways about a girl matching Jane Doe’s description.
"When you turn 18, if you've been reported as a runaway, they remove your name because you're now an adult,” Scharf said.
Scharf said he believes he can solve the case if he can convince every family who is missing a loved one to do one thing:
"If we get the family to put their DNA on file, we're gonna get a match. It's that easy,” he said.
Unknown even to her killer
Jane Doe’s story is the story of two people – a dead girl and her killer.
Scharf already knows who killed the girl he calls “precious” – David Roth, the younger brother of Randy Roth, who was convicted in 1992 of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison.
David Roth later told police that he was driving southbound on the Bothell-Everett Highway in 1977, heading for a swim at Silver Lake in Everett. On that drive Roth spotted an attractive hitchhiker and offered her a ride.
"I think he was 21. We’re thinking she was 17, he thought she was a girl he could do something with,” Scharf said.
Jane Doe got into Roth’s car. He said they bought beer and parked on a quiet gravel road.
Roth demanded sex from the girl, but she refused. It was then that he did the unthinkable.
"He came around behind her outside the car and handed her a peacock feather and asked her if she wanted that. When she took the feather, that distracted her and he put a bungee around her neck and strangled her,” Scharf said.
To make sure the girl was dead, Roth told police he loaded a rifle and shot her in the head seven times.
Roth was arrested on the Olympic Peninsula a year-and-a-half later after he started telling his story to friends.
"He confessed to the whole situation on the ferry boat ride back to Everett,” Scharf said.
But Roth wasn’t able to help police with the girl’s identity. He said he had never asked her name.
Roth went to prison for 26 years. He’s free now and at last report had moved out of the Everett area.
Scharf said he can’t rest until Jane Doe is finally put to rest with dignity. She was someone’s daughter, he said. Someone, somewhere knows her name.
HOW TO SEARCH FOR MISSING KIDS AND PUT DNA ON FILE
www.missingkids.com | 1-800-THE-LOST
Department of Justice NamUs database: www.namus.gov/index.htm
Read more about Jane Snohomish Doe: snohomishcountyjanedoe.homestead.com/
Contact Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Tipline: (425) 388-3845