Teen Girl Ran Away from Home in 1977, Identified

After 43 years of Elizabeth Ann Robert’s disappearance, the authorities have finally rested the case. A teenage girl was murdered in Snohomish County in 1977. DNA technology and the Detective who worked consistently on the case, Jim Scharf made it possible. The 17-year-old female victim who he called “Precious Jane Doe” was murdered.

“It was a wonderful feeling to finally locate Lisa’s family,” Scharf tells PEOPLE. “She actually had two families wondering what happened to her, a biological family and an adopting family,” he says.

The previous team involving Detective Scharf and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit worked with the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office along with Dr. Barbara RaeVenter who is an investigative genetic genealogist.

The team operated together to identify the victim.

Teen Girl Ran Away from Home in 1977, Identified
Teen Girl Ran Away from Home in 1977, Identified

The DNA procured for the study was Roberts’ hair strand coupled with a scientific technique that was previously thought to be impossible.

Roberts will be buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Hood River, Oregon as per the convenience of both the families and relatives.

The victim was born in the year 1959 named Elizabeth Ann Elder and then was adopted by the Roberts family at the age of two, taking the last name and thus called Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

On July 25, 1977, she eloped from home and called her parents from Everett, Wash, to ask for money.

Fifteen days after, on August 9, 1977, she was murdered and the corpse was found five days later by the locals in Everett. 

Officials reported that Roberts was hitchhiking near the Silver Lake on the same day she was murdered.

The culprit identified as David Roth who was 20-years-old at the time told authorities that upon refusing his proposal for sex, Roth strangled Roberts with a bungee cord, shot her in the head seven times, and dumped her in a woody area.

His confession got him 26 years in prison. Roth was released from prison in 2005 and died of cancer in the year 2015.

Despite his statement, the identification of the victim was not possible who was believed to be 25-30 years old at the time.

In 2008, Detective Scharf started following the case officially.

“It struck my heart, I knew there’s got to be people out there who love her. She’s precious to me, just like she must’ve been precious to them, so that’s why I named her Precious Jane Doe,” detective said.

An examination conducted by a forensic anthropologist declared that the victim was a teenager aged between 16-19.

Scharf and the team consistently worked over the long cold gone case. On June 16, the Oregon Health Authority gave Scharf the final confirmation of Roberts’ identity.

“When it all came together and we finally found her name I couldn’t wait to tell the family,” Scharf said in a statement.

“So many people do care about her like I knew they would, it’s a sad story, but she will be at peace now, which is good.”




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Ishita
Hey there! This is Ishita. A keen follower of everything that is politics, entertainment, and trending. An avid reader with an eternal love for writing, literature, cafés, and a latte. Procrastinator by day, binge-watcher by night. Do check out my write-ups.