June 26, 1983
Los Angeles, California
The burned body of an identified female victim is found

The victim, who is known as “Jane Doe #56” or “Crescenta Valley Jane Doe,” was 16 to 28 years old at the time of her death. She was beaten, strangled with a piece of wire left around her neck, raped with a hose, and set on fire. Her body was found within two hours of her murder but was unrecognizable due to charring. In an attempt to help identify her, police released photographs of a necklace she wore, a gold chain with “14K gold” written on a pendant.

According to The Doe Network, a suspect named Melvin Smith was arrested for the murder. He confessed to have beaten the victim until she stopped moving. He also admitted to not knowing the victim beforehand and was unable to assist in her identification. Smith was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Jane’s identity remains a mystery.

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