Hale County Jane Doe was a young woman discovered northeast of Plainview, Texas on February 16, 1982.
She is currently undergoing testing by the DNA Doe Project.
The woman had been discovered nude by the side of the road. She had her hands tied with her bra, was sexually assaulted, and then decapitated to death. Despite the body being partially decomposed, her fingerprints were lifted. Her fingerprints were not on file with the FBI, Texas, or Arizona.
On October 2, 1982, the skull of a teenage girl or young woman was found near Scottsdale, Arizona. Pathologist Ralph Erdmann stated he was "ninety-five percent certain" the Scottsdale victim and the Plainview victim were the same based on similar characteristics and postmortem intervals. The skull and the body were eventually buried together in a Plainview cemetery under the marker "Jane Doe."
However, Erdmann was discovered to have falsified autopsies and was convicted on counts of evidence tampering and perjury which damaged the theory the skull and the decapitated body belonged to the same woman. In 2015, the remains were exhumed and sent to the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas. According to the DNA Doe Project, the theory that the Scottsdale victim and the Plainview victim were one and the same was disproven.
Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing her and was indicted, but the charges against him were later dropped after he was convicted in other cases. While in custody, Lucas confessed to killing over hundreds people with the Lucas Task Force, headed by the Texas Rangers, closing two-hundred and thirteen murder cases. However, it was eventually determined Lucas falsely confessed to most of the cases, with authorities greatly enabling him by bribing him with privileges or letting him read cold case files to confess. Lucas would recant all of his confessions, including this one presumably. Eventually, he was convicted of eleven murders, suspected of more, and died on March 12, 2001.
Other victims he (falsely) confessed to or his suspected of include Tammy Alexander, Michelle Busha, Marilee Bruszer, Carol Cole, Eva Debruhl, James Freund and Pamela Buckley, Sandra Matott, Marie Heiser, Debra Jackson, Grimes County Jane Doe, Mariposa County Jane Doe, Riverside County Jane Doe (December 18, 1981), and Walker County Jane Doe (1980).
- She was initially believed to be White, but recent testing by the DNA Doe Project proved she was likely of African-American descent. She is still listed as White on NamUS.