|May 11, 2008, Arizona Daily Sun, Help Needed to Solve Cold Case, by Silvia Pettem
Historical researchers working with the Boulder County, Colo., Sheriff's Office point to former Flagstaff resident Katharine E. Farrand Dyer as the best candidate for an unidentified murder victim found near Boulder in 1954.
The slender woman was buried under a gravestone that reads, "Jane Doe." A request for information on Dyer was presented to Daily Sun readers in August 2007. Now, in light of new forensic evidence, authorities in Colo. are asking, again, for any clues that Flagstaff residents can provide about Dyer and/or her family. In the event of a DNA match (resulting in positive identification), the young woman's remains will be returned, at no cost, to her family.
According to Denver city directories, Dyer was living on her own (under her maiden name of Farrand) in Denver in 1948. At that time, she worked at a soda fountain in a drug store. One of her neighbors and co-workers was the late Emily Edwards Adams (later married to Don Starr). Adams, raised in Flagstaff, then married her first husband, Tom Adams, who was stationed at a Colorado army base.
Emily Adams moved back to Flagstaff in 1948 or 1949 and must have taken Dyer with her. Adams' half-brother was Jimmie Dyer, a student at Arizona State Teachers' College (now NAU). Other half-brothers were William and Emil Scholz.
Katharine Farrand and Jimmie Dyer were married in Prescott in September 1949 and lived at 14A Clark Homes (990 N. Thorpe Road) in Flagstaff. Jimmie's mother, Katie Edwards Warren, lived nearby. While Jimmie attended classes, Katharine worked as a waitress at Bushey's Fountain Cafe on Route 66. Jimmie was an avid hiker and member of his college hiking club.
On Katharine's marriage affidavit, she stated that she had been born in 1926 in San Antonio. However, there are no records of her birth, nor are there any census or city directory records of anyone named Farrand who could have been her parents. She may have been illegitimate or adopted and raised by someone with a different name. After Jimmie graduated in June 1950, the couple moved to Denver where Jimmie began a long career with the Public Service Company, and Katharine worked as an elevator operator.
Jimmie and Katharine Dyer separated in 1953. Jimmie remarried and lived the rest of his life in Denver. He died in 2002.
In March 1954, less than two weeks before Jane Doe's body was found, Katharine disappeared from a Denver boarding house, approximately 30 miles from Boulder. Her paper trail stopped -- cold.
Commander Phil West of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office recently announced the results of a photo-superimposition comparison. In this sophisticated procedure, an anthropologist overlaid the only known photograph of Dyer (obtained from Jimmie's second wife) onto a cast of Jane Doe's skull. Of the two possible results -- either "to exclude" or "fail to exclude" -- the results failed to exclude Dyer, meaning that her bone structure and Jane Doe's were so similar that the former Flagstaff woman could not be ruled out.
West called the results "promising in light of other circumstantial evidence."
Anyone who remembers Katharine is asked to call Boulder historian Silvia Pettem at (303) 459-0193 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.