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Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee
Unidentified American female murder victim

Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee

Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Unidentified American female murder victim
Was Victim
From United States of America
Gender female
Birth 1946, Southern Europe
Death 20 January 1971, Lake Panasoffkee, Sumter County, Florida, USA (aged 25 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee, or Little Miss Panasoffkee, is the name given to an unidentified young woman found murdered on February 19, 1971, in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, United States. She has remained unidentified for 50 years.

The murder remains unsolved despite the forensic reconstruction of the victim's face in 1971 and 2012. The case was featured on the television show Unsolved Mysteries in an episode that premiered on October 14, 1992.

Discovery of the body

On February 19, 1971, two teenage hitchhikers discovered a partially submerged figure floating beneath a highway overpass in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida.

The body was dressed in a green shirt, green plaid pants, and a green floral poncho. Also found were a white gold watch and a gold necklace. On her ring finger there was a gold ring with a transparent stone, indicating that she may have been married.

A forensic examination of the remains was conducted by Dr. William Schutze. Schutze concluded that the victim had been killed approximately 30 days before her body was discovered. A man's size-36 belt was fastened around her neck, strongly indicating strangulation as the cause of death.

Forensic examination

The body was exhumed in February 1986 for further forensic examination.

The woman was determined to have been between 17 and 24 years old when she died, weighing about 115 pounds. She had brown hair and prominent cheekbones. She was between 5 feet, 2 inches and 5 feet, 5 inches in height. She had received extensive dental work, including numerous silver tooth fillings. She had a porcelain crown on one of her upper right teeth.

It was determined that she had borne at least two children before her death. One of her ribs had been fractured at the time of death, leading investigators to theorize that the killer had possibly knelt on her while he strangled her with the belt.

Additional facial reconstruction of the victim

Investigators initially believed the woman to be either of European or Native American ancestry. A further exhumation and examination of the remains, conducted in 2012, established that she was of European descent. An examination of Harris lines in the victim's bones indicated that an illness or malnutrition had briefly arrested her growth in childhood.

Examining the lead isotopes in the victim's teeth, a geological scientist deduced that the victim had undoubtedly spent her childhood and adolescence in southern Europe close to the sea—most likely south of the Greek city of Athens—until within a year of her murder. The geological scientist George Kamenov pinpointed the most likely place as the fishing port of Laurium, Greece.

Given that there is a large Greek-American population in Tarpon Springs (about 117 kilometers [73 mi] from Lake Panasoffkee), and that the victim had been dead for about 30 days and had likely lived in Greece, it was possible to conclude that she had traveled to the United States to attend an Epiphany celebration.

Forensic examination of her hair supported the theory that she had been visiting temporarily. This was indicated by the fact that she had been in Florida for less than two months before her death.

An orthopedic surgery procedure, known as the "Watson-Jones" technique, had been performed on her right ankle when she was about 16 years old. This operation—which involved stretching the tendon by screws drilled into the bone—would most likely have been performed to rectify a chronic instability which would likely have seen the victim sprain her ankle several times before the operation. Periostitis was found in her right leg, which may have been noticeably uncomfortable for the victim.

A further development with the case occurred when it was featured on a Greek crime show. A woman came forward to say that she believed the facial reconstructions looked like a girl she knew, called Konstantina. She and Konstantina attended a prep school in Greece, where they were trained to be domestic help. After finishing the course, the school sent their students abroad to Australia or America as part of a two-year work contract. The school was funded by the International Organization for Migration. This woman had lost contact with Konstantina when they were separated, Konstantina was sent to America and the woman was sent to Australia. Konstantina had arrived in America at exactly the same time as the forensic testing indicated the victim had.

Facial reconstructions

A collection of forensic facial reconstructions were made in the 1980s to show what Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee may have looked like at stages of her life. In 2012, another composite was created, visually different from the first. The composite was combined with a scale model of the victim's clothing.

Cited works and further reading

  • Evans, Colin (1996). The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-471-07650-3.
  • Halber, Deborah (2015). The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-451-65758-6.
  • Innes, Brian (2000). Bodies of Evidence: The Fascinating World of Forensic Science and How it Helped Solve More than 100 True Crimes. Leicester: Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 1-856-05623-6.
  • Latham, Krista E.; Bartelink, Eric J.; Finnegan, Michael (2017). New Perspectives in Forensic Human Skeletal Identification. San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-128-05429-1.
  • Murray, Elizabeth A. (2012). Forensic Identification: Putting a Name and Face on Death. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-1-467-70139-6.
  • Newton, Michael (2004). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-816-07818-9.
  • Pettem, Silvia (2009). Someone's Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe. Plymouth: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-589-79420-7.
  • Pettem, Silvia (2017). The Long Term Missing: Hope and Help for Families. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-442-25680-4.
  • Ubelaker, Douglas H.; Scamell, Henry (1992). Bones: A Forensic Detective's Casebook. New York: M. Evans and Company Inc. ISBN 978-1-283-61515-0.
  • Taylor, Karen T. (2000). Forensic Art and Illustration. New York: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-849-38118-8.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 30 Oct 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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