Walker County detectives say they won't give up on 37-year-old murder mystery

WALKER COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) – Investigators in Walker County say they will never give up on trying to identify a teenage girl found along Interstate 45.

She was found nearly 38 years ago on November 1st, 1980, by a truck driver; she had been raped, strangled and left for dead.

Detective Thomas Bean with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office was assigned the case in 2015 and says he’s determined to figure out the identity of the teen and who killed her.

"That person made a statement when they did that,” said Bean. “Honestly, no one should ever be treated like that."

Bean says everything about the case has been difficult, especially not being able to identify the victim.

"If we could positively identify the victim there is a very good chance we could identify the suspect,” said Bean.

Investigators believe she was 15 at the time of her death and may have been in Huntsville for only a day before she was murdered. Over the years, Bean says, a lack of evidence has made it hard to ID the Walker County Jane Doe.

"When I read the report back from 1980 I just want to be like, 'why didn't you swab this and why didn't you do that, but it wasn't there,’ he said. “The deputies who responded out to the scene and the investigators they did everything that they knew to do at the time."

Now Bean needs more leads, he’s traveled to Corpus Christi and Rockport to follow up on leads he received when Jane Doe’s composite sketch was released.

"At this point, I'm willing to look anywhere,” he said. “If there is a missing person from New York that looks like her I'm willing to look at it."

Bean believes a good lead could mean closure to a decades-old mystery.

"When you leave somebody like that on the side of the road. A young girl or a young boy it gives us a little more drive to want to find this person because you don't want them doing it to somebody else,” he said.

Bean is hoping that families who had a missing relative during that time will submit their DNA to local law enforcement so it can be matched in a nationwide database.

If you have any information about this crime you can call the Walker County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.