BROADCAST DATE : Nov 18, 2016

Who Killed Jane Doe #59

On November 16, 1969, the body of a young woman was found along Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles.  She had been stabbed 157 times.

The body was never claimed. The name of the murdered woman would remain unknown for the next 46 years  -- her case was simply known as “Jane Doe #59.”

Nearly half a century later, three childhood friends from Montreal identify her as their long lost friend – Reet Jurvetson.

Now  the Los Angeles and Montreal police are trying to piece together the final weeks of Jurvetson’s life and the fifth estate helps uncover new clues that might help unlock a decades-old mystery. Bob McKeown reports.

  • Reet Jurvetson left Canada at the age of 19 for California in the fall of 1969 
  • Initial reports pointed to a possible link to the Manson Family killings, but police have confirmed that is not the case
  • Her homicide case went cold after police investigators failed to identify her body; she was "Jane Doe #59" for almost half a century
  • She was allegedly going to Los Angeles to see a friend named "Jean" or "John"

'Who is he?': Sketch shows 'person of interest' at heart of probe into Canadian woman's brutal 1969 killing

When Reet Jurvetson left Canada in the fall of 1969, the 19-year-old was headed to Los Angeles to visit another Montrealer named Jean. She had a crush on the young man who looked like The Doors' frontman Jim Morrison.

A few weeks later, her best friend, Gilda Green, got a postcard from Jurvetson saying she was happy.

It was the last time Green heard from her free-spirited friend.

Late last year, police in Los Angeles identified Jurvetson as the person they had known for 46 years as "Jane Doe 59" — a woman found stabbed 157 times and dumped on the side of Mulholland Drive.

CBC has learned that the LAPD has a new lead in the investigation that they will be releasing publicly next week.

Over the summer, the fifth estate has been telling Jurvetson's story through Instagram and Twitter in a 23-part series, a first for the program.

The program also commissioned sketches for its investigation, including one of Jean, whom police describe as a "person of interest" in the case.

"We call him a person of interest until we find out who he is," Det. Lou Rivera, the Los Angeles Police Department's lead detective in the case, told the fifth estate's Bob McKeown in an interview.

"He's definitely someone who's at the heart of the investigation because she came to visit him," said Rivera. "So our question is who is he? Where did he live? Why didn't he report her missing?

"Again, it could all be innocent and you know he might have left and just lost contact. But we definitely want to retrace these steps, especially to the day she was found."

Reports earlier this year pointed to a possible link to the Manson Family killings, but the LAPD has told CBC that there is no evidence supporting this.

In an exclusive interview with McKeown, Green says she received a postcard in the fall of 1969 from Jurvetson in Los Angeles, saying she was happy and staying in a nice place, but she never heard from her friend again.

A few months later, in the spring of 1970, Green ran into a friend of Jean's — also named Jean — in Montreal.

"And I went right up to him and started talking to him, and I was asking him about Reet. And he said: 'Oh yeah, she was with us for a couple of weeks and then she left on her own and everything's fine, she was happy,'" recalled Green.

According to Green, Jean said he didn't know where Jurvetson went after her Los Angeles visit.

That is the last any of Jurvetson's friends or family know about her movements. A woman's body, eventually determined to be Jurvetson, was found on Nov. 16, 1969.

A 15-year-old birdwatcher discovered the body entangled in branches. She had been dumped down a hill within the previous 48 hours.

Green does not remember the surnames of either Jean, both of whom she and Reet knew from Montreal.

As part of the fifth estate investigation, Green sat down with two sketch artists to create images of the two Jeans.

She remembers Jean No. 1, who she ran into in Montreal in 1970, as being "short," in the five-foot-six-inch range, having black hair, blue eyes and a French accent.

Jean No. 2, whom Jurvetson went to visit in L.A., is described as being more than five feet nine inches in height, with brown eyes and long hair feathered back in 1969.

The investigation became active again in 2003, when a woman's bloody bra was found in a cold case box. In June 2015, one of Jurvetson's friends called LAPD to say she recognized the 19-year-old's morgue photo online. She was positively identified through DNA testing in December, though that information was not publicly released until April.

She had been known as Jane Doe 59 for the previous 46 years because she was found without any identification and nobody had reported her missing.

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