GRANTS PASS, Oregon — Annie probably would be in her mid-50s to mid-60s now, if she had lived beyond 1971. She was an estimated 14 to 25 years of age when she died.
Her real name surely is not Annie, but it is the name affectionately given a skeleton now in a state medical examiner's facility in Portland. The skeleton was found by a man and his son 42 years ago off the Redwood Highway just north of the California border.
Josephine County Sheriff's Deputy Kari Lee is an evidence technician who has in her care Annie's clothing and jewelry. She would like to identify the remains — even if she is unable to solve the mystery about how Annie came to her fate. Annie's cause of death is unknown, but suspicious.
"This case is so solvable," Lee said after a national organization dedicated to solving missing-persons cases emailed the latest details known in the case. "We have DNA, we have dental records, we have very unique rings."
One of the rings — ornate, with a mother-of-pearl face — is strangely scratched with the letters "AL" across its face.
"I've never seen a ring defaced like that," Lee said. "Is her boyfriend AL" Who's AL" Are those initials" I can speculate until I'm blue in the face. I believe it's truly important."
Lee would like to find Annie's family.
"Back in 1971, with the culture being what it was, there were so many kids not reported as missing," she said. "It was just so common for kids just to get up and go. I'm wondering if she's never been reported missing. Someone out there is missing a friend, missing a daughter.
"My feelings toward this case are very strong. I want this case solved. Exclamation point. I want to give her family closure."
The body — a skeleton, hair and scalp — was found in the woods about a fifth of a mile east of the Redwood Highway north of O'Brien, near milepost 35. A map of northern California campgrounds was in the back pocket of Annie's jeans.
Maybe Annie had stayed at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park campground near Crescent City, Calif., or was on her way to the Oregon Caves, Lee guessed.
"Was she hitchhiking"" she asked. "Why is she way back there in the woods" Was she on summer break, college break""
When someone is considered missing, local law enforcement typically notifies the FBI's National Crime Information Center, a storehouse for such cases.
Many agencies also notify the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice that provides an online, publicly viewable database about cases. It was the latter organization, known as NamUs, that contacted the Daily Courier about Annie.
"Forty-two years and 'Annie' still waits for an ID," wrote J. Todd Matthews, NamUs director of communications.
Others have helped in the case, including a jewelry dealer who created a web page about Annie; the University of Texas, which has provided help with DNA services; and criminologist Joyce Nagy of the Clackamas County sheriff's office, who created a clay reconstruction of Annie's face and came up with the name Annie, because it seemed to fit with the body's fragile features.
Also assisting has been Dr. Nici Vance of the Oregon state medical examiner's office, where Annie's remains are stored.
"She will remain there until she's identified," Lee said.
Details of the case include descriptions of Annie's clothing and jewelry, plus other findings in the case, according to Lee and NamUs:
— The body was found on Aug. 19, 1971, in an area described as a dump, near a side road going to what was then listed as the Cooke ranch, just south of Rough and Ready Creek. Date of death was estimated to be 1971 or the previous year.
— A sterling silver friendship ring was found near the body.
— A hunting knife found near the body had deer blood on it.
— Annie weighed an estimated 125 pounds. She was 5 feet, 4 inches tall. Her hair was red/auburn, with dyed blond streaks.
— She wore a checkered pink and beige waist-length coat, a tan long-sleeve turtleneck shirt and jeans, size 13-14 misses slim.
— Her shoes were "Primstyle" brand, brown and squared-toed, with heavy heels, wide straps and gold-colored buckles.
No blood was found on Annie's clothing and no purse was found. She had 38 cents with her.
Lee has visited the area where the body was found.
"It's time for her to go home," Lee said. "Let's find her home."