‘Happy Face’ Serial Killer Victim’s Identity Revealed Almost 30 Years Later

Not a crime scene mentioned in the story. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

The remains of “Blue Pacheco” were found on the side of California State Route 152 in June 1993, but it took almost 30 years for her to be known by her real name.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday morning that its 29-year investigation into the death of the Jane Doe known as “Blue Pacheco” finally identified her, according to a Facebook post shared by the department. Using genetic genealogy, the team discovered the remains belonged to Patricia Skiple of Colton, Oregon, a victim of the “Happy Face” serial killer, the post continued. (RELATED: Utah Man Killed Teenage Couple And Dumped Their Bodies In Mine Shaft)

In 1994, the “Happy Face” killer wrote an anonymous letter to an Oregon newspaper in which he claimed to have murdered at least five people along America’s western coast, according to the sheriff’s office. The killer was identified as Keith Hunter Jesperson, who earned his nickname from the smiley face he used to sign off his letters, the authorities said. He was arrested in 1995, according to the Associated Press.

Police said “Happy Face” has been confirmed to have killed eight women, though reports suggest he’s claimed to have killed at least 185 people. His rampage lasted from 1990 to 1995 in California, Florida, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, the AP reported. In 2006, Jesperson admitted to raping and killing a woman in the general area of unincorporated Gilroy where Skiple’s remains were discovered, the outlet noted.

Skiple was a 45-year-old mother and friend when she was killed, the AP continued. Though her death was technically a cold case for much of the last nearly 30 years, Santa Clara County investigators partnered with the nonprofit DNA Doe Project and were able to identify her on April 13, Oxygen reported.