Ode to Doe: Valentine Sally


An AZDPS officer was searching for a tire when he stumbled on a body. The body of a white female was discovered lying face in the dirt, under a tree off Interstate 40, 10 miles East of Williams, Coconino County, Arizona, in 1982. Death is believed to have occurred on or around February 1. However, since the remains were found on Valentine’s Day, the victim was given the name “Valentine Sally.” The young woman, aged between 17 and 24 at the time of her death, was approximately five feet five inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. She had strawberry blond hair -which was straight and measuring about 10 inches long- and blue eyes. The victim wore only “Seasons” brand jeans and a single earring in her left ear. Since the right ear was never recovered, it is unknown whether bother were pierced. A distinct white sweater with thin red stripes, a white handkerchief and a white 36C bra were found nearby the remains, which likely belonged to the victim.

It is believed that she was killed either by suffocation or strangulation. Which of the two remains unclear. Her back left lower molar had an unfinished root canal. This may have been related to a previous or possibly on-going infection before her death. A rough well-healed scar was found on the top of the left foot measuring 3.5 and 1.4 cm in area. As well a a well-healed diagonal scar on the lower back of her right thigh measuring 3.5 cm in length. Another notable feature was moles on her chest, above her right breast.

The victim may have been seen at a truck stop in Ash Fork, Arizona  3 a.m., at the Monte Carlo Truck Stop on February 5th of the same year in the company of a white male. The man was described as “60 to 65 years of age, 5’8″ to 5’10″ tall, medium weight, wearing a two-tone brown checked leather vest—the kind made in Mexico and a felt cowboy hat adorned with peacock feathers”. Many speculate this man have been her father. While other suspect that due to the age gap he was more likely an uncle, as if the estimate is correct, the man would have been over 40 years old when “Sally” was born. A waitress who was interview described “Sally” as a girl you “turned heads”. When seen she was apparently wearing the same clothes which we found at the scene of her body.

In 1984 the case was considered solved. However “Valentine Sally” had been misidentified as a woman from Florida who had run away in 1980 and a death certificate was even issued. However, in 1986, the woman believed to be “Valentine Sally” reunited with her family, proving officers wrong, and the case was returned to being unsolved. The young woman again became nameless. Due to the conditions she was left in, some parts were never recovered and fingerprints were unavailable. Since the body was left in the open it was subject to animal activity and decomposition for over a week.

Any individuals with information about who “Valentine Sally” may be, or pertaining otherwise to the case are urged to speak out. You do this by calling the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at  928-226-5033 and reference case number 3-0282-0319. You can also visit the county sheriffs Facebook page for cold cases and message them there, or call 1-800-THE-LOST.


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