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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.

On July 8, 1979, the remains of a white male and female were found near Highway 20, west of Willits.   Here is a map to show the vicinity of Westport, Highway 20, and Willits:

willits

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.

lovell_linda2mendocinouidf

Above: Linda Lovell (left), Female UID (right)

packard_stephenmendocinouidm

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. 😦

Sources:

Namus – Linda

Namus – Stephen

Charley Project

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9 thoughts on “Linda Lovell and Stephen Packard

  1. I think this could be a potential match worth checking. There is a BBC documentary about the two UID’s: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18529366

    As I understand it, there is mtDNA for the two UID’s. That is how they were determined not to be related. Linda’s DNA appears to be in NamUs, Stephen’s is not but neither of them has dental information. They are not among the exclusions for the two UID’s so neither of them has been checked as possible matches. Neither of the UID’s has sufficient DNA for profiling though.

    The inconsistencies are in my opinion minor if you look at the general context: a young woman and a young man disappear near where two UID’s, a young male and female, are later found.

    Differences in physical characteristics are in my opinion not a sure way to eliminate someone as a match, unless the difference is huge. Height is determined using the long bones, the BBC documentary shows what appears to be near-complete skeletons. In NamUs, both of them are estimated at 65 inches, Stephen is taller but where did his height come from? DMV records or family estimations? The age of the person is determined by, among other things, growth plates in long bones and fusing of sutures in the skull. The interval in NamUs for both is 10-20, so, this inconsistency is minor in my opinion. A ten-year-old’s skeleton is different from a twenty-year-old’s.

    Post-mortem interval is determined by a lot of things such as insect activity, decomposition and general context such as plants. Still, a four-year discrepancy is not minor but I haven’t founf how the PMI was determined.

    That extra tooth is intriguing as well. Could it be that the two skeletons were moved to the site? That there is a primary dumping ground and a third victim, not yet discovered?

  2. Intersting update, that bot UID’s are female. Where does that information come from?
    In NamUs thay are still one male and one female.

  3. I also read that it was discovered both victims are females. I haven’t seen any unidentified sites updated with this new information but if that really is the case then maybe we are looking for two friend that went missing together.

  4. The two UID’s mentioned above have now been identified as Francine Trimble and Kerry Graham who disappeared in December 1978.

    That’s a bit of closure to their families but not to Linda Lovell’s and Stephen Packard’s.

  5. I was looking into this for a while. There is a couple found in s.c. as uid. In 1976. They both were shot and left for dead. They stayed at a koa. She had rings of native american. I feel this could be them. Maybe they traveled further than anybody knows and just never turned back. Non related the man was close to 6 feet.. Female with long brown hair and small moles on left cheek.

  6. Sumter County Does

    Crime scene where the two bodies were found.
    The Sumter County Does, also known as Jock Doe and Jane Doe, were two unidentified homicide victims found in Sumter County, South Carolina, on August 9, 1976.They had apparently traveled through various places in the United States before being killed in South Carolina. This was inferred from some of their belongings.[3]
    Each victim had been shot three times, receiving one shot in the throat, one in the chest, and one in the back. The weapon used was believed to be a .357 caliber revolver.
    Sumter County Coroner Verna Moore continued to work on the case until her retirement in 2009. The case remains unsolved. Neither of the victims’ identities has been found, despite the fact that their descriptions, sketches of their faces, dental information, and fingerprints were distributed across the United States.[5][7][8]
    Authorities decided to halt the investigation until the victims’ identities could be discovered.

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