Investigators in Riverside County, California are making significant progress in identifying the only remaining unidentified victim of serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson, also known as the “Happy Face Killer.” Recent advances in DNA technology have brought investigators closer than ever to solving this cold case.
The woman’s body was discovered on August 30, 1992 along Highway 95, approximately seven miles north of Blythe, California. After his arrest in another case, Jesperson confessed to killing her and seven other women.
Although Jesperson was convicted for the murder in 2010, the victim, referred to as ‘Claudia,’ has never been positively identified. The Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team is now seeking global assistance in putting a name to her face.
The team, led by investigators from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, is determined to provide closure to the victim’s family, wherever they may be. District Attorney Mike Hestrin emphasized the importance of identifying the victim and urged anyone with information to come forward.
Jesperson provided details about his encounter with the victim, describing her as a woman with shaggy, wild blonde hair, and tight clothing, and stated that her name was ‘Claudia.’ However, he admitted that ‘Claudia’ may not be her real name. Based on this information, it is believed that the woman had ties to Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside County areas, as well as to Las Vegas and southern Nevada.
Improvements in forensic science have allowed investigators to determine some familial relatives, including the victim’s biological father, who is now deceased. The victim’s maternal side of the family is believed to have ties to the Louisiana and/or southeast Texas area.
The Riverside County DA’s Office is urging the community to come forward with any leads that could help identify the victim. Leads, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can be reported to the Cold Case Hotline or by email. The team is committed to the investigation and prosecution of cold case murders and violent sexual assault cases, utilizing DNA technology to identify victims and provide answers to their families.
The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team, comprised of members from various law enforcement agencies, is dedicated to solving cold cases in Riverside County. If you believe that you are a relative in this case, or other unsolved homicides, consider contacting GedMatch for DNA comparison. The goal of the team is to ensure that justice is served for the victims and their families.