Three decades plus old case murder is a lesson in extremes
Bossier’s Old Cold Case, is a lesson in extremes.
Bossier Parish’s oddest cold case murder is almost 35 years old. An unidentified Jane Doe found in the woods north of Haughton in the spring of 1981.
It was in roughly December 1980 that a young girl was taken into the woods and her life brutally snuffed out. Nearby lay a household knife believed to have caused her death. She was found weeks later by hunters, and was a horrible sight even to seasoned deputies. The elements and animal degradation reduced her to a shell of her former beauty. And what they found was a lesson in extremes that has puzzled the then Sheriff Larry Deen ever since. After all, murders in Bossier weren’t common at that time.
The investigators noted she wore Evonne Goolagong-brand tennis shoes. Goolagong was an Australian aborigine native who reached fame through her tennis accomplishments and made a little side money on her shoe contract. As was popular with young girls of the time the shoes had names written on them. One shoe bears the inscription “David, Michael Brisco” and the other “Resha and D. Davies” These are our best (but possibly wrong) clues to her identity.
I was asked years ago to keep investigating this case by my colleague and friend, Sheriff Larry Deen. It was the case he regretted not solving while in office. Shortly before leaving he asked me to keep on it.
Bossier’s Jane Doe was taken to coroner George McCormick. His autopsy report shows a lesson in extremes. He determined she was a typical young girl, but wearing mens underwear. She appeared to be a blonde but he notated on her autopsy report that she was “possibly native.” Since George has passed, we can’t ask him what he saw to make him make that supposition. George also noted the braces on her teeth, but yet estimated her age as old as early 20’s. She was about 5’6″ and weighed 130-140 lbs. She was dressed in a beige, long sleeved, striped button-up shirt, hooded sweater, blue jeans and mens briefs, according to official sources.
Nothing indicates she was local, at least no one local reported her missing. But with Barksdale nearby, that can’t be ruled out. Since this case the internet has established a Jane Doe network, where missing persons are shown. A nationwide search yields no answers. A rough recreation of her face done by an art student in 1984 didn’t reveal answers. It made her appear much older than her believed age.
My interest in her case was simply that she was found not far from where I grew up. She was off a dirt road west of Hwy 157, north of Haughton. Living in Bellevue, I traveled Hwy 157 until 1977 when I got married and moved to the city. My passion for this case comes from the fact I love intrigue and crime shows, so I’m an “ID addict.”
Now to recap 1980 here in Bossier. Interstate 20 had just fully opened, meaning the Haughton-Bossier City section completed our portion. This matters if she was a victim of a traveling killer, who dumped her body in Bossier. Some argue the dirt road was a bit far off interstate for a traveler, especially a big rig. Nationally, Mount St. Helens had just blew it’s top in Alaska. Was she a displaced Alaskan native? The Winter Olympics were in Lake Placid, New York in Feb 1980. Did this bring a international traveler to our soil and she chose to stay and travel the vast US? And worse yet, the famous Muriel Boat lift out of Cuba brought thousands of unemployed “natives” to America in Nov 1978. If she was from Cuba, her braces wouldn’t be American made? Another weak possibility was the Hope Youth Ranch north of Minden. I personally know they weren’t good about reporting their runaways. A distant relative found one of their young men deceased in the Dorcheat bottoms. Was she a disadvantaged young girl who had no relatives to report her missing, but with braces?
This case will apparently be solved by new technology. A newer facial recreation a few years ago yielded a better possibility of her looks, but no further leads to her name. But they still put blonde hair on her? I’ve personally never seen a natural blonde “probably native.”
When I looked into the case, I found (with my limited research database) that there were only two known “Resha Davies” in the whole world. One Reshantonique Davies lived in Long Beach, California in 1990, so she’s definitely is not our girl.. Another lived in Australia in the 1950’s, so she’s too old. Was either related or just friends? Neither person has been found on recent databases to lead me to interview them.
At one time I thought I had a good lead. My genealogy records showed “Reshantonique Davies” could be Reshantonique Woods and this lead to a “Toni Woods” who fit the profile. Toni Woods even had a grandmother living in Bossier City that year. This lead crashed when I found Toni Woods obit in Las Vegas and my telephone interviews with her mother yielded no usable information other than Toni Woods was not Reshantonique Davies.
Of the many brothers with the same name, there was a Michael and David Brisco pair whose mother was a rather famous author who had a home in sunny Southern California. Emails to their facebook page have not been answered. I’m sure if they had known anything they would have realized it by now.
While the confession of Henry Lee Lucas made the Bossier Sheriff’s department sure they had solved the case. His recantation of his confession and statement that he made the confession because they wouldn’t let him have the attorney wanted clouded the issue. Henry Lee Lucase biographers notate he was in Jacksonville, FL 1979-1981 working for a roofing company.
Was she the victim of Robert Charles Browne, a serial killer born, raised and operating out of Coushatta at that time? A look at his long list of victims shows a remarkable physical similarity with our Jane Doe. Was she a relative of one of the Coushatta Indians or the Spanish-Mexican-Americans who settled in the Coushatta area? Had she come for Christmas and never made it home? A television show implied one of Browne’s neighbors dissappeared about this time. But … no more information available to this researcher. I only know Hwy 157 is a route through Bossier to Coushatta.
There is a Davies girl who disappeared from New Zealand in April 1980. She even had braces on her teeth. But what’s a Pacific Island girl doing in Louisiana? Kinda doubtful.
I met with Bossier deputies a few years ago and showed them my suspicions. They have rightfully kept their investigation close to their chest and in their defense, it is considered solved.
The only clues we can possibly find to her identity will be solved thru forensics. Ancestral DNA could show her true racial background. Was she Alaskan, Pacific, Cuban or some other ancestry? Geographical DNA could show what kinds of food she ate growing up. Unfortunately my calls to the Bossier Coroner were not returned. After all, my opinion really doesn’t matter. I’m not a professional investigator who warrants this information. I just had a friend who asked me to look into this case and it still bugs me.
What bugs me most about this case is that this young lady cared enough about her looks that she submitted to the pain of braces. Someone cared enough to spend that not-so-small amount of money on her. Yet by the time she was found her socio-economic situation forced her to wear mens underwear. Was she was a victim long before she died? Was she murdered and dumped by a neighbor of mine? I had courting friends who used to park on that very dirt road.
There is enough evidence to confirm her identity through dental records, fingerprints and/or DNA.
Maybe one day, by the 35th anniversary, we as readers and armchair detectives can find answers. Maybe a cold case can be solved. The most important answer can be figured out. “Who is Bossier Jane Doe?”
Clifton D. Cardin, the self-described “armchair sleuth” is the official historian for Bossier Parish.