Cold case vault: Woman wrapped in carpet, left outside Garden Grove school in 1990


Editor’s note: This is an ongoing series about cold cases of interest.

Illustration by Monica Edwards

Suspect(s): Unknown

Date of crime: Oct. 4, 1990

Victim: Jane Doe, age 25-35, 5 feet 3 inches, 179 pounds, likely from Mexico or South America based on her dental work.

Details: Someone left a dead woman wrapped in red carpet on the sidewalk south of Riverdale Elementary School in Garden Grove, between 6:10 and 6:45 a.m. Oct. 4, 1990.

Some students, as well as a janitor, saw a foot extending out of one end of the carpet outside the entrance to the school at Downie Place and Lewis Street and alerted the school’s principal, who called police at 7:43 a.m.

Though the body was left near the school, police said there were no witnesses who saw anyone leave the commercial-grade carpet there. The carpet appeared between the first janitor arriving at 6:10 a.m. and the second janitor arriving at 6:45 a.m. that day.

An autopsy determined the woman had been strangled to death.

Officials ran the woman’s DNA, but found no matches in the database for either her identity or for any relatives in the system. Police released fliers identifying her as a Jane Doe and asked for the public’s help determining the woman’s identity.

The woman’s two upper front teeth were outlined in gold, a common dental practice in Mexico and South America.

She had dark brown, curly hair and brown eyes, and was wearing a sleeveless black blouse over a sleeveless pink blouse, and Paloma-brand acid wash jeans.

Though she was barefoot, officials said she may have normally worn sandals.

Latest developments: Police are re-releasing the woman’s photo in the hopes someone can identify her.

Contact: If you have any information about this homicide, contact Det. Terra Ramirez of the Garden Grove PD at 714-741-5704