Deputy Ronald BREUSS is a veteran of the Santa Clara County Sheriffs Department. A longtime investigator, he now heads the Cold Case Homicide Unit. What follows has been learned by Detective Breuss from reading official law-enforcement reports, from talking with other investigators and from personal conversations with witnesses.
In unincorporated Santa Clara County, on westbound State Route 152 (the Pacheco Pass highway) near Casa de Fruita, is a large unpaved turnout. At the rim of the turnout is an earthen berm 10 feet or so high, apparently created when the turnout was bulldozed. On the far side of the berm lies an accumulation of rocks, boulders, vegetation and debris.
On June 3, 1993, a trucker pulled into the turnout in order to urinate. He noticed a jacket and a pair of shoes lying on the ground near the berm. Curious, he walked to the top and looked over. A few feet away was a human body, face down, with the feet on the upside of the slope and the head on the downside.
Sheriffs detectives quickly responded to the scene. The body was that of a clothed female wearing neither a jacket nor shoes. She was obviously dead – the body showed significant signs of decomposition.
Investigators quickly noted that the position of the body suggested that it had been placed or dumped where it lay. The legs straddled a large boulder and the head was wedged into a crevice under a rock (the rock was not resting on the head but rather created a natural overhang).
The placement of the arms – haphazardly askew -- also suggested that the female had been dead or unconscious when she landed.
Conclusion: it was very unlikely that the decedent had removed her shoes and jacket, climbed to the top of the berm, lost consciousness (or died) and, in so doing, hurled herself face first onto the rocks.
Among other evidence collected near the body was a small, black and yellow, largely unweathered, plastic flashlight.
The medical examiner concluded that the body was that of a female in her late thirties or early forties but found no obvious cause of death. He did note that the body showed signs of intravenous drug use (needle tracks) on both arms. However tissue was too decomposed to permit a drug screen. And unfortunately the medical examiner could not determine whether the woman had been strangled – again tissue was too decomposed. He did notice a 3.5 x 1.25 inch postmortem laceration on the back, suggesting strongly that the woman had been dragged after her death.
Jane Doe has never been identified.
In the Spring of 1994, the Portland Oregonian newspaper received an anonymous handwritten letter in which the writer, a self-described long-haul trucker, confessed to five murders, one in Washington, one in Oregon and three in California.
The author included significant details that were not publicly available. One of the described killings closely matched that of the Pacheco Pass Jane Doe. Adorning the first page of the letter was a crudely drawn happy face. Of course the media immediately dubbed the author the “Happy Face Killer.”
The same author wrote several more letters. On one he left a latent fingerprint. The print matched that of Keith Hunter Jesperson, a long-haul trucker. The handwriting also matched that of Jesperson. Jesperson was convicted of several murders and is now serving a life-without-parole sentence in Oregon, concurrent with similar sentences imposed by other states.
In 1997 Jesperson authored a letter to the Santa Clara District Attorneys Office. In it he described in detail the final hours of Jane Doe -- picking her up at a truck stop in Corning, California (along I-5), having sex with her, strangling her to death at a rest stop in Williams (also on I-5), dragging her body out of his truck at a turnout on Route 152, and tossing it off the berm. He also provided a crucial tidbit, mentioning that he had lost his small black and yellow plastic flashlight in the process of dumping the body.
BREUSS seeks a complaint charging Jesperson with the murder of Jane Doe together with a no-bail arrest warrant. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct and that this document is executed in San Jose, California on June 13, 2006.