Identified: Jane Doe B10

          As we get back to our regularly scheduled programming, we’re going to cover another resolved Doe case. This case is a bit different from the Sumter County Does, however. This Doe’s killer has always been known, so that mystery was solved long ago. Getting her name back was the last step in this process. So, let’s examine the case of “Jane Doe B10,” who was murdered by Gary Ridgeway, and how it took over thirty years for her to get her name back. Let’s Explore.

The Discovery

          On March 21, 1984, the skeletal remains of a Jane Doe were found near South 146th Street and 16th Avenue South in Seattle, Washington. At the time, the area was a ball field, but it has since been built to be a part of the SeaTac International Airport. At the time of Jane Doe’s discovery, the body of Cheryl Wims was also found. This, along with other disappearances and murders in the Seattle area, led the investigators to consider the idea that a serial killer was operating in the area.

The Investigation

          The Jane Doe was christened Jane Doe B10, as the body was skeletonized. It was believed that she had been dead for nearly a year prior to the discovery of the remains. Forensic investigation of the body showed that the cause of death was likely strangulation. They believed the Doe was somewhere between 12 to 18 years old at the time of her death, weighed 110 to 130 lbs, and stood somewhere between 5’2” to 5’8” in life.
          I can’t find any information specific to the Jane Doe B10 investigation – it seems like all of the Does and unsolved murders in the Seattle area fell into the Green River Killer investigation. No expense was spared in this investigation, and all avenues were broached in attempting to find the serial killer that plagued the area. In fact, the Green River Task Force even consulted and interviewed Ted Bundy in an attempt to get in the mind of a killer. He’s often credited with helping to catch the man who was responsible for the string of murders: Gary Leon Ridgeway.
          We’re not going to get into the whole story with him, though. He has several missing, suspected, and unidentified victims, so he may be another serial killer that I do a series on in the future. Let’s just take a look at how he was caught. Basically, Ridgeway was caught on a solicitation charge in 2001. A DNA sample was taken during this arrest. That DNA was linked to DNA samples from three of the Green River victims. And the dominos fell from there. In his first interviews with the Green River Task Force, he confessed to many murders, including that of Jane Doe B10. He claimed to believe she was in her 20s and had picked her up near Riverton, WA. He was charged and convicted over her murder.
          Which brings us to now. The DNA Doe Project used DNA extracted from the Doe’s bone fragments to conduct genetic genealogy to track down her identity. The DNA Doe Project has been on a hot streak lately thanks to this technique and their dedicated team. For those that may not know, genetic genealogy is the process in which DNA is uploaded to open source databases with the goal of identifying relatives who have undergone genetic testing such as 23 and Me, Ancestry, etc. These matches are often fourth, fifth, or further cousins. The genetic investigators then use these matches to build out possible family trees. These family trees are then used to investigate any possible missing persons who would match the Doe’s description. It’s a long process, but it’s proven to be useful.

(The only currently circulated photo of Wendy Stephens.
via the Seattle Times)

Who Was Wendy?

          As of right now, not a lot has been publicly released about Wendy. We know she was 14 when she ran away from her parents’ home in 1983. We don’t have a concrete birthdate, but it is believed she was born sometime in 1968 or 1969. She had brown hair and light eyes that may have been hazel, green, or blue (this information comes solely from available pictures). Hopefully we get to know more about who Wendy was as a person, because she deserves to be known as more than a victim. More than her body. 


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