‘Happy Face Killer’ Victim Known As ‘Blue Pacheco’ Identified; Family Finally Gets Closure

Nearly three decades after her body was found, Patricia Skiple has been identified as a victim of the serial killer.

Nearly three decades after her body was found, Patricia Skiple, pictured here in a blue shirt, has been identified as a victim of the 'Happy Face Killer'.

‘Happy Face Killer’ Victim Known As ‘Blue Pacheco’ Identified as Patricia Skiple; Family Finally Gets Closure

Photo by: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

Back in 1992, Patricia Skiple, who was called Patsy by her family, left her home in Molalla, Oregon, and she was never seen alive again. For decades, her family heard nothing from her, and they didn’t get closure until April 19, 2022 when the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office visited to let them know that Skiple had been identified as the latest victim of “The Happy Face Serial Killer,” USA Today reported.

On June 3, 1993, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in California was alerted to a body that was found alongside Highway 152, also called Pacheco Pass, in Gilroy, California. Until she was finally identified, detectives called the woman “Blue Pacheco” after the blue denim she was wearing and the location where she was found.

According to KRON 4, Skiple’s identity and even her cause of death were a mystery. However, in 1994, an Oregon newspaper began getting letters from someone who claimed to be a serial killer who murdered several women on the west coast. Every letter from this self-proclaimed killer was signed with a happy face drawing.

This “Happy Face Killer” was later identified as Keith Hunter Jesperson. He confessed to Skiple’s murder in July 2006, and he later pleaded guilty to felony homicide. Nevertheless, the detectives were not able to identify who the victim was, and Jesperson claimed her name was Cindy or Carla, reported the DNA Doe Project, an organization that worked with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to determine Skiple’s identity.

The details about the murder from Jesperson’s confession are grisly. He claimed he met her in a restaurant at a truckers’ rest stop and targeted her from the moment he saw her, according to East Bay Times. According to Jesperson, he bought her lunch and offered her a ride, then he confessed to sexually assaulting Skiple before he strangled her to death. The killer told Detective Ronald Breuss, “I looked at her, put my hand around her throat and said, ‘Now you’re going to die.’ She got this absolutely frightful look.”

Jesperson is now serving multiple life sentences in the Oregon State Penitentiary. Other victims he killed haven’t yet been identified, but they aren’t forgotten. Carienn Binder, the educational and development director at the DNA Doe Project, said, “The Does deserve to have their names back. They’re humans, they have families, they have names, they have stories being a part of that and allowing them to share their story from the beyond, is really important to our mission.”

For more on the investigation into Keith Jesperson aka the "Happy Face Killer", watch The Happy Face Killer: Mind of a Monster on discovery+.

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