The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said genetic genealogy unshrouded the decades-long mystery surrounding the true identity of Happy Face Killer victim Patricia Skiple on April 13. Photo by Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
April 20 (UPI) -- Patricia Skiple, an Oregon mother known for decades to detectives only as "Blue Pacheco," has been identified as a victim of the "Happy Face Killer," authorities said Wednesday.
A trucker discovered Skiple's strangled body on June 3, 1993, on California State Route 152 south of San Francisco.
Until now, the woman, believed to be 45 years old, was identified by the color of the clothing she wore when she was found.
Skiple was a mom known as Patsy who had lived in Colton, Oregon, investigators said.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said genetic genealogy unshrouded the mystery surrounding her true identity on April 13.
A combination of DNA analysis, ancestry databases and genealogical detective work has helped law enforcement investigators crack several decades-old unsolved cases like Skiple's.
A nonprofit investigative genetic genealogy group called the DNA Doe Project assisted Santa Clara's detectives in solving the case.
Keith Jesperson -- dubbed the "Happy Face Killer" from his drawings on anonymous letters sent to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office and to The Oregonian newspaper -- confessed to killing Skiple in July 2006.
Jesperson pleaded guilty to felony homicide the following year, authorities said.
The long-haul trucker and serial killer targeted, tortured and killed women in his truck cab, according to journalist Jack Olsen.
Jesperson, who claimed to have killed over 100 people, is serving a life sentence at Oregon State Penitentiary.
Authorities say they've confirmed only eight murdered women in six states - - Oregon, Washington, Florida, California, Wyoming and Nebraska.
"Although this criminal case was adjudicated, detectives never gave up as they worked diligently throughout this investigation to provide closure for the family of Patricia Skiple," the department said, according to NBC News.