Linda Lee Lovell, age 25, and her companion Stephen Locke Packard, age 18, disappeared in June/July 1974.
Linda was a resident of Missoula Montana, and Stephen was from New Jersey. It is not known how the two knew each other, but ultimately they were traveling along the California coast, hiking, and possibly hitchhiking between destinations. They planned to eventually reach Washington State for the world’s fair, before returning home.
On June 10, 1974, Stephen called his family from Stinson Beach, CA, which is near Mt Tamalpais, and is about an hour up the coast northbound from San Francisco. Postcards were also received by the families from Stinson Beach. Ten days later, on June 20, a travelers check in Stephen’s name was cashed at a store in Westport, CA. Westport, in Mendocino County, is about 4 hours north of Stinson Beach.
I could find no additional information about their disappearances.
The map is a bit blurry from enlarging it, but here is an overview. The red pin is Westport, along Highway 1, where the travelers check was cashed. Highway 20 is the highway that goes east to west, and can be seen near the bottom of the image. Willits is right where Highway 20 meets Highway 101, near the bottom center.
While there are many problems with this potential match, there are enough ‘coincidences’ to bother me. Here are some side by side comparisons between the missing and the UID’s.
Above: Linda Lovell (left), Female UID (right)
Above: Stephen Packard (left), Male UID (right)
Firstly, the fact that a male and a female were found, in the 70’s, in such close proximity to the last known location of Linda and Stephen intrigues me in spite of the many details that don’t quite seem to add up.
Here are the things that do match, other than location:
Female UID height: 5’3″ – 5’6″. Linda’s height: 5’4″ (Weight unknown on both UID’s)
Female UID hair color: brown. Linda’s hair color: brown
Found on female UID: bird earring typical of hippie or Native American culture. Linda was from Montana, which has a large Native American population.
Male and female UID’s not related to each other.
Male UID estimated age 10 – 20. Stephen’s age 18.
Male UID had hair below ear length. Per photo, Stephen did as well.
And now some things that don’t quite match:
Female UID listed as between 10-20 years old. Linda was 25.
Date of death guessed to be 12/1978, although the remains were skeletonized. That would be four years after Linda and Stephen went missing.
Stephen had a prior hand injury, which is not mentioned with regard to the male UID.
Male UID said to be between 5’2″ – 5’11” tall. Stephen was 6’3″. (A 10″ height range is quite broad, which gives me the sense that they don’t really know the height at all.)
Male UID said to have brown hair, Stephen said to have strawberry blonde. However, based on the photos, Stephen’s hair appears darker to me than the UID’s does.
DNA is not available for either UID, NamUs states that tests were done but they were unable to obtain a sample – yet they did somehow know that the two were not related.
Dentals are on file for Stephen, and it appears that Linda’s are still in process.
Strangely, the Santa Maria Police Department is investigating this case. Santa Maria is in Central California, near San Luis Obispo, and about eight hours south of where Linda and Stephen were last seen.
I’m interested in opinions as to whether these could be match, in spite of the inconsistencies.
UPDATE: THEY ARE NOW SAYING THE TWO UID’S ARE BOTH FEMALE. 😦