LAS VEGAS (KLAS) For more than four decades, the young woman was only known as Jane “Arroyo Grande” Doe. Now, there’s a name to go with the face.
Henderson Police announced Thursday that DNA was used to positively identify her as 17-year-old Tammy Corrine Terrell from Roswell, New Mexico. She was born July 4, 1963.
Her naked body was discovered south of State Route 160, west of Arroyo Grande Boulevard in Henderson on Oct. 5, 1980. She had been beaten, hit in the back of the head, and stabbed.
Police diligently worked to solve the case for decades but had little to work with. She had a small tattoo of the letter “S” on her forearm, a birthmark on her back, and a vaccination scar on her left bicep.
A new composite photo was made of her face in 2015 which was more lifelike and released in hopes it would jog someone’s memory. It didn’t.
In 2016, her body was exhumed for additional testing. DNA and genealogy were used to help find her identity by tracking down possible family members.
“Through this lengthy process, we located two of Tammy’s sisters who were able to confirm her identity when they supplied us with DNA,” said Captain Jonathan Boucher, Henderson Police Department. “Tammy’s sisters, I will tell you were tremendously grateful to finally know what happened to their sister 41 years ago.”
“Now the pursuit of Tammy’s killer or killers begins,” Boucher said. “We are seeking the public’s help to bring Tammy’s killers to justice.”
Terrell was last seen on Sept. 28, 1980. She had been dropped off at the Roswell State Fair. Around 10 p.m. that evening, she was seen at a Roswell restaurant with a white man and woman. One week later, her body was found in Henderson.
Boucher said the case deeply affected the detectives who worked on it. He said Detective John Williams who initially investigated it paid for Terrell’s burial and continues to visit her gravesite yearly on the date of her death. Detective Joseph Ebert, who took over the case, has put in an “astonishing amount” of work on the case.
One of the people who worked on the case was Barbara Rae-Venter who also helped police identify Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer.
Her unsolved murder was one of the reasons Clark County started its cold case project and launched a website in an effort to identify the unidentified.
Earlier this week, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police announced it solved the 1979 murder of 16-year-old Kim Bryant through DNA. In September, it was announced that DNA had linked a suspect to the 1989 murder of Stephanie Isaacson. In both cases, the suspects had since died.
Anyone with information on the Tammy Terrell case is asked to contact Henderson Police Department at (702) 267-4750 or CrimeStoppers at (702) 385-5555 to remain anonymous.