This column will be on the press when Sheriff Darin Balaam hosts his Tuesday press conference to “announce” a major break in the 1982 Sheep Flats Murder cold case.
The same major break that the DNA John Doe Project announced last year. The same one The New York Times reported on April 25 and I picked up in this newspaper on MayDay.
Anyone with web savvy knows that you can set up a keyword retrieval that will send you everything that pops up on the internet with your parameters, e.g., “police involved shootings.”
So what’s wrong with this picture?
JUSTICE DELAYED. Did no one in law enforcement or the legit news media implement such a standing websearch? I hope some of my colleagues will have asked Sheriff Balaam some hard questions rather than act as PR stenographers.
I called around when his press release broke last Monday. Mainstream media had no idea that this story was already stale. So whassup?
Balaam certainly needs some positive press after four jail deaths in the first four months of his administration. Aw hell, who cares if jailbirds live or die, anyway?
In 2015, former Sheriff Chuck E. Cheese announced using a radical “new” investigative technique, better known as Facebook. That turned out be an early warning of a one-termer.
Here’s last week’s Barbwire item: “WTF DEPT. Online genealogical criminal investigation was poo-poohed by cops until it caught Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo, a retired cop now charged with (so far) 26 counts of murder, rape and kidnapping. On April 25, The New York Times reported that a week before DeAngelo’s April 2018 arrest, the dogged group of crime-tracking women at the DNA Doe Project identified a woman found shot to death on a Reno hiking trail in 1982. So why did I read about it in the Times? As of Monday (4-29-2019), it had received no coverage by local media.”
I e-mailed Reno Police Chief Jason Soto for info and police drawings last week but I guess the body was found outside the city limits.
Here’s the DNA Doe Project writeup from last year. The DNA Doe illustration is better than either of the local efforts. (See the expanded web edition of this column at Barbwire.US.)
“Sheep Flats Jane Doe was a woman found shot to death near Lake Tahoe in Nevada in 1982. Her nickname originated from the fact that she was discovered in the Sheep Flats area outside of Mt. Rose on a hiking trail. When discovered, there were two sets of foot prints leading to the scene from the parking area, and one set returning. No one had seen her in the Tahoe area in the days before her body was found. An autopsy has shown that her last meal was a salad.
“She was originally believed to be from Europe due to inoculation scars on her arm and her dental work. An independent dental examination in 2010 has discredited this original assumption. She was dressed for a day at the lake: jeans and t-shirt over a blue bathing suit. Upon close forensic inspection, it was determined the t-shirt was sold only on the West Coast, leading investigators to believe she may have visited or had been residing in one of the western states before her murder. Sheep Flats Jane Doe is currently buried at Our Lady of Sorrows on North Virginia Street in Reno, NV.
“In July 2018, DNA Doe Project announced Sheep Flats Jane Doe had been tentatively identified; in September her identity was confirmed by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is withholding further information due to the ongoing homicide investigation.
“Many thanks go out to all who dedicated their time and energy to identifying Sheep Flats Jane Doe, both those in law enforcement and the DDP volunteers. It took the coordinated efforts of many individuals with diverse skills working many hours to finally uncover the identity of this unfortunate young woman.”
This story has been online since last July and hit The Times last month. Sheriff Balaam damn well better have an arrest rather than being pushed to get in front of the story by two newspapers.
POLLCATS. Sen. Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, and the GOP are polling public opinion to see if voters will support Gov. Sisolak changing course and advocating a tax increase for education now that the state budget is looking stingy, as usual. Such is the hangover of decades of corporate welfare addiction. Aw, who cares about schools anyway? Kids can always get jobs parking cars at casinos.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.