The Murder of Sherri Ann Jarvis

Sherri Ann Jarvis was a 14 year old girl whose body was found in Walker County, Texas. She is known for being the previous Walker County Jane Doe after remaining unidentified for over 40 years. Her murder is still unsolved.

Young Sherri

Sherri Ann Jarvis was born on March 9, 1966. She was from Stillwater, Minnesota. Most of her close friends called her Tati. Before she disappeared, Sherri was removed from her parents’ home and put into a girls group home for habitual truancy. Sherri later ran away from the group home in 1980.

While in Denver, Colorado in August 1980, Sherri sent a postcard to her family, stating that she didn’t want to come back until she was 18-21 to avoid living in the group home. This was the last time anyone heard from Sherri, and she was reported missing.

On November 1, 1980, a trucker discovered the nude body of a girl laying face down near the shoulder of Interstate Highway 45 in the Huntsville, Walker County area around 9 A.M. Investigators determined that the girl had been dead for approximately 6 hours. The only articles of clothing she had were a necklace and red leather sandals.

Autopsy reports determined that the young girl was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted with a blunt object before she died. She also had a bite mark on her right shoulder. She was then strangled to death with a ligature. Medical examiners determined that the girl was well nourished in life and possibly came from a middle class household.

Following the investigations, multiple people in the area came forward claiming to have seen a girl matching the victim’s description the day before the body was found. Most of the witnesses were people from a nearby truck station called Hitch ‘n’ Post, and they reported that the girl was asking for directions to the Ellis Prison Farm, claiming to have a friend there. A waitress at the truck stop suspected the girl was a runaway and asked her where she was from, to which she responded Rockport or Arkansas Pass, Texas. She also claimed to be 19 years old and when asked if her parents knew where she was, she didn’t seem to care.

Facial reconstruction of Walker County Jane Doe

Investigators questioned inmates and employees at the Ellis Prison Farm about their knowledge of the girl and showed them mortuary photographs, but no one could identify her. Investigators also questioned officials at schools in Rockport and Arkansas Pass districts, but no missing persons reports matched the girl’s description in that area.

After remaining unidentified, the girl became known as Walker County Jane Doe. She was buried in an open casket funeral on January 16, 1981 at Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas.

Jane Doe’s body was later exhumed in 1999 to collect DNA samples for forensic testing. The tests determined that she was between 14-18 years old. This evidence did not create any new leads. In 1990, a web sleuth and forensic artist named Carl Koppelman created multiple facial reconstructions of the Walker County Jane Doe to help people recognize her.

2018 Facial Reconstruction of Walker County Jane Doe

Over the years, Walker County Jane Doe’s case gained immense media attention as web sleuths and people all around the world wanted to find out who the girl was. People came up with all sort of theories of who the Jane Doe may have been, but most theories created no leads.

In 2020, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office decided to work with Othram Incorporated, a company that specializes in genetic testing, to help identify Walker County Jane Doe through genetic genealogy. The first DNA testing attempts were unsuccessful, but finally after using preserved tissue samples, investigators were able to create a genetic profile for the girl and construct a family tree. Through this, investigators were finally able to give the Jane Doe her name back in September 2021, almost 41 years after her murder.

2020 Facial Reconstruction of Walker County Jane Doe

Walker County Jane Doe was identified as 14 year old Sherri Ann Jarvis. Investigators are unsure why Sherri ended up all the way in Texas, states away from home in Minnesota; perhaps it had to do with someone at the Ellis Prison Farm. After her identification was announced, Sherri’s family made a statement, thanking the investigators and community of Walker County, as well as the many people who kept Sherri’s story alive in hopes that she would be identified someday.

Now that Sherri has been identified, the next step is finding out who did this to her. Some suspect that her killer may be a trucker, due to the fact that Sherri was seen at a truck stop prior to her murder and her body was found nearby. Investigators also believe that her murder may be the work of a serial killer, as Sherri’s murder occurred around the same time and in the same area as other murders of young women. With further genetic testing and evidence, I believe that Sherri’s killer will be identified soon.

Sherri Ann Jarvis


Published by Writer Kiya

true crime blogger ☠️

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