As I mentioned in a previous article, my new hobby is to digitally put faces to skulls. I particularly wanted to put faces to unidentified victims, but it so happens that it’s not very easy to find photos of the naked skulls. Most victims’ skulls that I find are shown encased in clay after forensic artists have made an effort to create their versions of the faces. Sadly, far too many of these appear to me to have little resemblance to believable or recognizable humans.
And so it was I came upon the story of “Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee”, a Jane Doe whose body was discovered on February 19, 1971 in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida. In an effort to resurrect this very cold case, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detective Darren Norris enlisted the services of forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle to develop a new likeness of the murdered girl (see above).
And I was so giddy — the Bend Bulletin article I found included both the new portrait of the victim AND a picture of a skull. With my amateur eye at work, I could see little likeness between the two images. And being a pompous know-it-all I undertook to create my version of the face to match the skull.
Here it is.
The article had detailed how the girl was determined to have come from Greece so I made her as Greek-looking as I could.
And then my pomposity took a nose-dive when I reread the article and saw that nowhere did it actually say the image of the skull was the image of THE skull.
Aaaargghhh! So I have no idea whose skull it was that I was working on.
But I have decided that since this poor murdered woman needs to be identified — the autopsy showed she’d had at least one child who had to grow up without Mommy — I am still going to post the article, albeit with much more humility this time.
On February 19, 1971, hitchhikers found the body in Lake Panasoffkee, north of Bushnell. It was about a one-and-a-half hour drive to Tampa.
The poor woman had been strangled and dumped in the water at least a month before she was discovered. The killer left a man’s belt wrapped around her neck.
The coroner determined that the victim was a young woman — between 17 and 24, and around 5’2″. She was only about 100 to 115 pounds, and had dark hair, brown eyes, a strong nose and prominent cheekbones.
At some point the victim had had surgery performed on her ankle. She also had a pile of dental work including crowns, caps and fillings.
The body was dressed in green plaid pants, a green shirt, and a green flowery poncho — very stylish, I’m sure, for the 70′s.
The woman was wearing a 17-jewel Baylor watch, a gold ring with a clear stone and a thin, gold chain.
Recent forensic work by scientists at USF and the University of Florida has determined that the young woman probably came from Greece, most likely around Lavrion, a small fishing port south and east of Athens. Fascinating how these scientific types can come up with that! Apparently they learned all that from her tooth enamel. Kudos to the geochemists and anthropologists of the world!
The scientists also determined that the victim was a recent arrival in the United States.
This poor woman has been unclaimed and unidentified since 1971. Somewhere out there are her family and her children. They have been without their loved one for over 4 decades now, and hopefully somebody out there has an idea who she is. “Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee” deserves to be returned home and reunited with her family.
Somebody out there also might have an idea who the evil bastard is who killed her. Now would be a good time to come forward and volunteer any leads.
Anyone with information may call the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at 888-231-2168.
Thanks to the research of Annoula, I got my hands on a very poor image of THE skull, but at least it was the correct skull. And so here is my rendition of the missing woman’s face:
Thanks so much, Annoula, for finding the video source for me.