Another hitch hiker murder attributed to the late great Ted Bundy. There is no evidence that he killed this girl, no confession, nothing which ties Ted Bundy to Brenda Baker except suspicion.
The Daily Chronicle, 98531, Thursday, June 20,1974
Victim identified as missing girl
By JULIE MCLAUGHLIN
Chronicle Staff Writer OLYMPIA -
Identification of : clothing articles, jewelry and dental work late Wednesday afternoon led to the positive identity of the female body discovered in the wooded Millersylvania State Park. The victim was a 14-year-old Maple Valley girl, Brenda Joy Baker, who was reported missing from her home since Saturday, May 25. According to a report from the T h u r s t o n C o u n t y S h e r i f f ‘ s Department, Miss Baker was last seen about four blocks from her residence, presumably hitchhiking a ride south out of Maple Valley on the freeway. However, the department did not wish to comment whether the girl’s death was attributed to hitchhiking.
Identification of the victim was primarily due to a missing person’s report which had been filed with King County authorities following the teen-ager’s disappearance. When found by a property owner adjacent to the state park Monday afternoon, the victim was partially attired in a tan corduroy jacket, red bell-bottom pants, white socks and brown leather shoes. Investigators also took two bracelets, a set of earrings and a ring into custody as evidence and for identification purposes. Final verification of the items was made by the girl’s father, Benjamin Baker, Maple Valley, friends and the family dentist.’ Thurston County sheriff’s investigators encountered increased identification problems earlier Wednesday after they were con- f r o n t e d w i t h m a j o r a g e discrepancies by medical experts.
Following a preliminary autopsy Monday a f t e r n o o n , Tacoma pathologist Dr. Charles P. Larson and his assistants, Drs. Harvey Snyder and J-ack B o h a n a n , determined the victim’s age ranged between 28 and 34 years. However, the opinion that the body-was that of a young woman 14 to 19 years old was later given by Dr. William Veach, an Olympia radiologist, who arrived at his conclusion through extensive examinations, especially with the use of X-rays. Although Undersheriff Jack Crawford pointed out that age was not the most important identification factor, the age conflict did create a wider field. The undersheriff explained that it is not abnormal to have extensive differences in age estimates, and said the department would investigate all logical reports of missing persons, including those any where from ages 12 to 50.
In a joint announcement late Wednesday by Hollis Fultz, county coroner, and the sheriff’s department, they said there was no doubt in the girl’s identification. Efforts to identify the decomposed body began Monday after the victim was discovered in an inaccessible area of the park by Tom Ismay, Olympia, and’two female companions. The body was taken to a Lacey funeral home and will be transferred on approval of the county coroner.
A spokesman for the department said there is no evidence there is any connection in the Baker case and that of Miss Kathy Devine, 15, Seattle, who was found murdered in McKenney State Park six months ago. Miss Devine had also hitchhiked out of the Seattle area.
As of Thursday morning, there were no positive reports of how Miss Baker’s death occurred. The autopsy report is not expected for several days, the department announced. Although all leads are being pursued, a sheriff’s spokesman did not comment whether there are any suspects, although the girl may have been accompanied by two young men.
In addition to Miss Devine’s m u r d e r , T h u r s t o n C o u n t y authorities are still investigating the disappearance of Donna G. Manson, 19, who has been missing from the Evergreen State College, Olympia, since March 12. Other missing college girls are Linda Healy, 21, Seattle, who disappeared Jan. 3; Susan Ran- cort, 18, missing from Central Washington State College since April 17, and an Oregon State University coed, Roberta Parks, 19, missing since May 6. All the young women were reported to have disappeared suddenly under suspicious circumstances. No major leads have developed in any of the cases.