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Valentine Sally

Valentine Sally Wiki

                                    Valentine Sally  Biography

Valentine Sally  Nearly 40 years after a girl’s body was found on Valentine’s Day on a northern Arizona highway, earning her the nickname ‘Valentine Sally,’ police identified her as a teenage runaway from St. Louis.

Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll announced Monday that DNA confirms the victim is Carolyn Eaton, 17.

The decades-long cold case began when an Arizona state trooper saw her body on February 14, 1982, on the north side of Interstate 40, west of Williams.

Investigation

The researchers recently hired a private company to process the body’s DNA for entry into online ancestry databases for genetic comparison. The sheriff’s office says this led to the discovery of possible family DNA matches.

Former waitress Patty Wilkins spoke to Eaton less than two weeks before her body was discovered when the girl walked into the cafe at the truck stop where she worked.
Former waitress Patty Wilkins spoke to Eaton less than two weeks before her body was discovered when the girl walked into the cafe at the truck stop where she worked.

Arizona detectives traveled to St. Louis to interview potential family members. These potential family members told police that they had a sister, one of six brothers, who ran away around Christmas 1981 after an argument.

“Family members were in awe,” Cococino Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Lurkins told the St Louis Post = Dispatch. “We told a family member that we were investigating a missing person case and they asked us: Is this about Carolyn?”

From there, detectives collected new DNA samples that led to positive confirmation.

The sheriff credited the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children with providing funds that allowed DNA testing through a private company, leading to positive identification.

Patty Wilkins, then a waitress at her family’s Flagstaff truck stop, is believed to be among the last people to see Eaton alive, less than two weeks before the discovery of her body.

Wilkins said Eaton  was accompanied by a man in his 60s wearing a cowboy hat with a peacock feather

He recalled how on February 2, 1982, Eaton, dressed in a striped sweater and jeans, entered the cafe at the truck stop accompanied by a man in his 60s wearing a brown leather vest and cowboy hat adorned with a peacock feather.

Eaton complained that he had a toothache from recent root canals, so Wilkins said he gave her an aspirin pill to put on her tooth, KSDK reported.

‘And I asked him, I said,’ Do you want to stay here with me or do you want to go with this gentleman? ‘Wilkins said, to which Eaton replied that she is fine and that she will go with the man.

On Valentine’s Day, a detective came to the truck stop cafe and asked about a girl in a striped sweater and jeans who had been found murdered. The victim still had Wilkins’ aspirin on her tooth.

Wilkins said he learned from the detective that the girl likely died shortly after leaving the truck stop with the older man.

He could have gotten her out of that truck. He could have made her stay with me. I could have called 911. I could have done a million different things that I didn’t. All I did was put that aspirin in it, ” Wilkins said Monday in an interview with the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sheriff Driscoll said Eaton’s death is a homicide, but the cause of death has not been determined due to the condition in which her body was found. The detectives will now go looking for suspects.

Police have never identified the older man in a cowboy hat who was last seen with Eaton.

Valentine Sally Quick and Facts

Arizona authorities identified the girl found on February 14, 1982, west of Williams, as 17-year-old Carolyn Eaton.
Eaton ran away from her home in St Louis, Missouri, after an argument around Christmas 1981
She was positively identified after a private company processed the body’s DNA into online ancestry databases for genetic comparison.
She was last seen by a waitress at a truck stop cafe less than two weeks before the discovery of her body.
Patty Wilkins, the former waitress, said she saw Eaton with a man in his 60s wearing a cowboy hat with a peacock feather on February 2.
Wilkins gave Eaton an aspirin for her toothache and asked if she wanted to go with the man or stay with her, to which the teenager replied that she was fine.
When a police officer found Eaton’s decomposing body off Interstate 40 less than two weeks later, Wilkins’ aspirin was still in her tooth.

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