On August 14th, 1979, at around 9pm, the body of a young female was found in the empty parking lot of El Rancho Casino (which is now an empty lot), at Las Vegas Boulevard South and Sahara Avenue.
It is believed that she died 3-4hours before she was found, and based on wounds to her abdomen it was determined that she had died from a stabbing. Her toxicology reports found that she had a blood-alcohol level of .238, meaning that she was very drunk when she was killed. At her time of death, she was between 15-25 years old.
She was found partially clothed, but her jewellery was still there. There is no evidence of sexual assault, but it is thought that her killer took some of her clothes as a souvenir or “trophy”. Investigators believe that she was walking barefoot before her death and that the clothing she had on suggested that she could have come from Florida. The victim also had dentures, and whilst she was wearing her top denture, her bottom denture could not be found.
One witness reported seeing the young girl with a white male in a liquor store just a few hours before her death. The man is described as being around 28 years old (at the time), around 5’11” and 165 pounds. He had a thin build with brown hair and a moustache. This man is actively being sought as a suspect in the woman’s death.
In 2016, a new lead was developed. This lead suggested that she may have lived in a trailer park near Las Vegas and that she could have used the names, Shauna or Shawna. It is also possible that she could have worked at a Holiday Inn or a motel on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Isotope testing also revealed that the woman had spent time in Napa Valley or Central Valley, California, before her death.
As of 2022, Sahara Sue still remains unidentified. At least seven missing people have been ruled out as being her, and her DNA and fingerprints have both been collected and entered into the databases.
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