Purse removed from cold case

Huntington Beach police determined Wednesday that a purse long believed to be evidence in an unsolved 1968 murder is unrelated.

The Police Department on Tuesday posted seven photographs found inside the purse that was abandoned about a quarter of a mile from where an unknown woman was found with her throat slashed and body beaten and sexually assaulted. Police are still asking for the public's help identifying the woman.

Detectives received about 50 phone calls, dozens of e-mails and input from the public on Facebook and Twitter identifying all the people in the photographs and have been able to contacted them, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

"We're confident that the purse is not related to Jane Doe," he said.

Police also released a composite drawing of the victim and have received "good clues" to her identity that they are following up on, Reinhart said.

Several boys found the woman's body while playing in a field at Newland Street and Yorktown Avenue at 4:05 p.m. March 14, 1968. The body was facedown in a drainage ditch, police reported.

The victim was white or Latino, 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 140 pounds with a medium build, and had dark shoulder-length hair and brown eyes.

She was wearing a multicolored flower-print blouse, purple capri-type pants, a black imitation leather three-quarter length coat and flat loafer-type shoes. She was wearing a silver metal ring with a light blue, square stone.

Police also reported the victim was missing several back teeth and had slightly crooked front teeth.

Detectives believed the woman was dropped off at the location and found several tire tracks near the body.

Similar tire tracks were found a quarter of a mile away at Huntington Street and Utica Avenue.

Two other boys were playing in an oil field at that location on the same day and nearly at the same time as the woman's body was found. The boys found a white purse that contained a matching white wallet, but no money or identification.

The wallet did contain six black-and-white wallet-sized photographs, and one color photo was discovered on the ground.

Detectives originally thought the purse could have belonged to the victim and been tossed by her murderer at the oil field.

The department launched its Facebook and Twitter in November to enhance interactions with the community, officials said at the time.

This is the first time the department has used the social media sites to try and identify a victim. The public's response has been outstanding with a lot of positive feedback, Reinhart said.

"Using social media will be part of the future of law enforcement," he said.

Anyone with information on the identify of the victim is asked to call Det. Mike Reilly at (714) 536-5940.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World