Advances in DNA technology helped Steve Rhods discover who killed Jane Doe Ventura County, but they have yet to help the experienced detective identify the young, pregnant murder victim, discovered near a high school football field in 1980. A retired Ventura County sheriff’s deputy, Rhods is now a cold case investigator with the county’s district attorney’s office. He is also a subject of Louise Farr’s latest Alta article, about the cases of two young women murdered by the same killer, whose identities were long unknown. While one of the victims has since been identified by DNA, Rhods and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office are still looking for information on the second Jane Doe. “Everybody has a mother, and every mother always wonders where their children are at, what are they doing. I just felt like that needs to be answered,” Rhods told Alta Live. “I’m simply trying to return these girls back to their families and explain, This is what happened, and we sought justice and got justice for them. It’s not closure, never will be. It’s unfinished work.”
Both Farr and Rhods are well versed in the true-crime world, a genre that has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Rhods famously worked on the team that used DNA evidence to find the Golden State Killer. Farr has written stories of murder and tragedy for Alta and penned the true-crime book The Sunset Murders. “The world around us feels so dark and chaotic at the moment. Crime is chaotic and dark. These crimes usually involve murder, but we know going into them that there’s going to be some kind of ending. It may not be a happy ending, but it will close off the story,” Farr said. “It brings a sense of order, maybe, to a world that feels so disorderly.”
Check out these links to some of the topics Rhods, Farr, and Spotswood brought up.
- Read “She Has a Name,” by Louise Farr, in Alta’s Winter 2022 issue.
- Read Farr’s “The Accident on the Pacific Crest Trail.”
- Read “Death Becomes Them,” by Denise Hamilton.
- Read “In the Footsteps of a Killer,” by Michelle McNamara, a story on the Golden State Killer published in 2013 by Los Angeles magazine.
- Contact the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office with tips related to the identity of Jane Doe Ventura County via its website or by calling (805) 654-9511.
- Read the brand-new Winter 2022 Issue: New Hollywood.•