A man went to shoot magpies near Blackhawk, CO one day on September 30, 1952 and noticed a large burnt log while he was walking around in the woods.  As he moved closer he found a log that had previously been doused in gasoline and set ablaze and then upon further inspection he realized a woman’s badly burned body was underneath it.  He kept revisiting the scene that night multiple times with his shooting partner before reporting the homicide to police.  I have already sent in a promising match for this Jane Doe and the lead coroner investigator is looking into it closely.  If the Jane Doe is who I believe she is, then the coldest case in Colorado history will be solved soon.  Let’s read more about Blackhawk Jane Doe (referred to in the past as the Funeral Pyre Jane Doe).

First and foremost, evidence is the most important facet of the case to study.  Evidence includes the crime scene and all items pertinent to the crime within it such as weapons, signs of struggle, clothing, and of course the victim among other items and physical conditions.

There were two pieces of evidence that called out to me when I looked over this Jane Doe’s casefile.  The first item was a ring found near the funeral pyre that was curiously missing its stone.  The second item was an empty lipstick case.  Now, we have two very big clues here that signify a number of possibilities and motives.

Did the ring belong to the Jane Doe?  Was the stone in this ring valuable?  Was it a wedding ring?  This might point toward a motivation of robbery that lead to this Jane Doe’s death.  But if she were married and it was a precious stone from a wedding ring how come her husband never reported her missing?  Either the ring was a precious ring that was not a wedding ring OR the ring was from a previous marriage of the jane doe in which the husband was lost to divorce or death.

Then there is the lipstick case.  Assuming this belonged to the jane doe, would it be safe to believe that she often wore lipstick and had a well manicured appearance?  Possibly so.

So taking these two items of evidence into account we have an idea of the profile of our victim.  She was a woman who wore lipstick and also was possibly married during or prior to the time of her murder.

One missing woman in the national index seemed like a viable match.  Here is her information:

Lillian Eileen DeMaris

demaris_lillian
Above Images: DeMaris
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 14, 1952 from Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: May 12, 1921
Age: 31
Height: 5’0-5’2″
Weight: 120 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Hazel
Race: White
Gender: Female
AKA: Lillian Eileen Huff
Case Number: 00-18286
Details of Disappearance
Lillian DeMaris disappeared from Mason City, Iowa, on August 14, 1952, leaving behind three young daughters, ages 6, 4, and 2.

DeMaris was born in Dodge, Nebraska. She was married four times. Her husbands included Patrick O’Brien, Shorty Thompson, Charles “Chuck” Jackson, and Tom DeMaris, who died in a construction accident in Minnesota.

For a period of time during the 1950s, Lillian lived in Killeen, Texas, and also worked as a food vendor with a traveling carnival.

There was something about Lillian’s similar appearance to the unidentified female that struck me.  The hairline, cheekbones, and eyes were haunting me in regard to their likeness.  But one thing was off:  the height.  The Jane Doe had been listed as being 5’7″ in the national index where as Lillian was listed as between 5’0″-5’3″ range by multiple agencies.  The inconsistencies in height caused the coroner and index to automatically rule Eileen out.  However, I had a feeling in my gut that something was amiss.  That possibly the height was incorrect on one of the files be it the unidentified person or Eileen.

After being bothered enough I researched the original findings on the Jane Doe from the 1950’s via newspapers.com and found that her height was incorrectly entered into the index as 5’7″ rather than estimated around 5’3″.   I sent this information and correction to Namus and they were amazed how such a small thing as one typo threw everything off kilter.  Lesson to be learned:  If you have an irresistible sense that you have a match despite one inconsistency, you might just be onto something that law enforcement or advocate networks need to correct in order to find a match.

 

This post currently is in the works.  Check back soon!

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