It’s 1971, and as a father and son drive down the Redwood Highway in Oregon, they decide to pull over and get some rest. But when the sun rises, the pair make a horrifying discovery: the skeletal remains of a teenage girl lying in the nearby woods. And, in fact, it will take investigators nearly five decades to figure out who that young woman had once been.
Since the days of Ancient Rome, courts have given labels to hypothetical or unidentified players in a court case. Back then, lawyers used the names “Numerius Negidius” and “Aulas Agerius.” After that, in as early as the 14th century the English began giving an unidentified plaintiff or defendant the more personalized moniker of “John Doe.” However, no one’s quite sure where John Doe – or Jane Doe, the female equivalent – first came from.
Nowadays, however, John and Jane Doe have more somber usages – at least when it comes to law enforcement in the United States. Authorities use one of said monikers in order to hide a victim’s true identity, for instance, or when they discover the remains of a person whose name is unknown.