The murder of Tammy Corrine Terell

At around 9:20pm, on the 5th of October 1980, the naked body of a woman was found south of State Route 146, close to the Arroyo Grande wash. The woman had multiple injuries of blunt force trauma to the back of her head, believed to be caused by framing or roofing hammer. She also had injuries to her face, seven puncture-type wounds on the upper area of her left back, and one of her lower teeth had been hit out in the attack.

The woman was found face down and posed by two brothers, one of which was an off-duty police officer.

Police determined that the cause of death was an unknown two-pronged instrument, with prongs around 3 inches (76 mm) long that was used to stab the girl. Her body was washed, and a yellow/orange coloured shower curtain was found close to the body.

The young girl gained the name the Arroyo Grande Jane Doe.

She was around 5 ft 2 inches tall (1.57 m) and weighed between 98-110 lb (44-50 kg). Her hair was a natural brownish blonde, red, or strawberry blonde colour, and was at shoulder length. Her wisdom teeth were still intact, and she had a visible gap between two of her right-upper teeth, which may have occurred post-mortem.

A sketch of what she may have looked like can be seen below.

Reconstuction of the Arroyo Grande Jane Doe. Credit: Carl Koppelman

On December 2nd, 2021, Arroyo Grande Jane Doe was identified as 17 year old Tammy Corrine Terrell from Roswell, New Mexico. She was identified using forensic genealogy that was overseen by Barbara Rae-Venter, a genetic genaloagist who also helped to identify the Golden State Killer in 2018.

The police have said that an investigation into Tammy’s murder is still ongoing, and that if anyone has any information regarding Tammy, or her murder, that they should contact them immediately.

Tammy Corrine Terell


Unsolved, Murder, USA, Child, Teenager, True Crime, Mystery

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