You all know me as El Dorado Jane Doe or Mercedes. My real name is Kelly. I was born in 1968 in Virginia. I hope I don’t oﬀend anybody, but for the sake of privacy for my family I’m leaving my last name out. I had a mom named Brenda and a Dad named, well, as it turns out he wasn’t my father so there’s no point in saying his name. I had a younger sister who I loved very much. I never knew my real father, and he might have never known about me. So here goes my life story. I actually had a normal life as a young child. Mom and Dad had good jobs. But, then my mom and what I thought was my Dad separated in 1971. He was in the military, and they weren’t actually divorced until 1972. When I was 4 years old, Mom married another man within two months of her divorce. This man was very abusive to all of us. This is when things in all of our lives changed. The marriage lasted 7 years. Rumor has it that Mom got pregnant again possibly with her second husband and gave this baby, a girl, away to near by farmers. After her divorce from this abusive man, she quickly married again and this man killed himself within a few months of their marriage in December of 1979 (I was 11 years old).
My mom basically relied on her parents and men to pay for her life. She was spoiled by her parents. She came from a good family who were well oﬀ financially. She had very expensive horses and anything she wanted when she was growing up.
For the next two years Mom and I and my sister lived in Charlottesville, VA. Mom collected on a life insurance policy on her third husband and went to Virginia Beach on vacation. Me and my baby sister stayed with one of our aunts. We ended up living with my aunt for about 1 1/2 years. Mom had moved to Virginia Beach during this time. In my sophomore year of high school (I was 15 years old) mom asked my aunt to send us to Virginia Beach to live with her.
My sister stayed with my Aunt and I went to Virginia Beach. I dropped out of school in the 10th grade and got a job on the beach in a pop up kiosk that sold jewelry. I closed the kiosk at night and would take the merchandise and money home for the owner. In the morning, I would return with the money for pickup by the owner and merchandise. One night my Mom stole the merchandise and money. I had to tell the owner what happened. He agreed not to press charges on my Mom if I could get the merchandise back so that he could open for business. This wasn’t the first time my mom had stolen something. That’s how she usually got money, either steal it or get it from someone.
In the summer of 1983 (I was 15 years old), one of my aunts came to to live with us in Virginia Beach. In a three month time period, we had to move 3 or 4 times because Mom didn’t pay the rent. Everyone but Mom was working and rent money was there. Somehow Mom never used our money for rent so we moved a lot. This also was a usual thing in my life. My Aunt couldn’t take it and moved back home. The restaurant bar menus that I had were some of the favorite places that we would go to. Sometime between 1984 and 1985 (I was 16 - 17 years old living in Florida) I called my aunt and asked if I could come stay with her in VA. Dealing with Mom’s cocaine addiction and crime level was wearing on me. While in VA, I got into an argument with my aunt about my own drug usage of cocaine. Another great thing my Mom introduced me too. I left and went back to Florida. Not the best decision since all I did was take care of her. Her idea of birth control was abortions. After each abortion, I would take care of her. Nothing but new boyfriends and strange men in her life to give her what she wanted. She was in and out of jail for writing back checks, drugs, credit card theft, grand larceny and even stealing a car because she didn’t return it to the car rental place. If she wasn’t running from people she stole from, she was running from the law.
In 1986 (I was 18 years old) I went to drug rehab for cocaine. Mom and I were living in Florida at the time. When I got out of rehab, I called my aunt who was in Texas with her husband who was in the military. I knew I couldn’t go back to Moms place since she had such a horrible cocaine problem, so I went to live in Texas. My aunt noticed that I arrived with a suitcase that contained very sexy clothing. She realized what I had been doing.
Yes, I was a dancer in a club. It was apparent that I had been probably doing this for a while. Guess that’s why I needed that fake ID I had under Cheryl Wick as you have to be 18 to work in those clubs. The name Cheryl Ann Wick became the name I went by. Ok, I guess I actually went by a few diﬀerent names. I told my aunt that I made a lot of money and it was easy access to drugs. A way to pay the rent for Mom and I. I met a nice guy while I was in Texas. I even moved in with him. But one day I packed up my stuﬀ and left.
From 1986 - 1989 (I was 18 - 20 years old) I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nothing had changed in my life except getting away from my mother. But I’m sure we still stayed in contact and I ended up back in Florida. In the summer of 1989 (I was 21 years old) my little sister was 18 now and she came to live with us. She had been away from us for so long and wanted to be a family again. My sister only lasted a few months with us. Mom entered her into a bikini contest on the beach to get money. My mom’s life style was a lot for anyone to take. I guess I just got use to it. My sister went back to Virginia to be with our family. I too left Mom and went to Norfolk, Virginia for a bit in 1990 (I was 22 years old). I visited all my favorite restaurants. I even kept a few of their menus. I spent some time in Dallas, Texas in 1991 and then to El Dorado, Arkansas. Well, you all know the story from here. On July 10, 1991 I was murdered by my ex-boyfriend.
Last thing, in 1992 my Mom reached out to my aunt and asked if she could come stay with her. Mom went to Jacksonville, Florida where my aunt was. My aunt asked where I was and Mom said she hadn’t seen me in quite a while. The sad thing is Mom didn’t even care and I was already gone from this earth by then. Mom stole from my poor aunt and left. Obviously nothing had changed with her. All I ever did as a teenager and young adult was try to help my Mom. All she ever did was see how I could make money for us to live. Mom eventually moved back to Virginia and died in 2008. No one in the family even knew mom was in Virginia or that she had died. I guess Mom stopped making contact with them. My family now knows what happened to me. They have wondered for over 30 years where could I be. They are overwhelmed with sadness to hear that my life ended at 23 years old. I know they will always have a deep love for me as I do for them.
I would like to give special thanks to the following people: Captain Cathy Phillips from El Dorado Police for never giving up on finding my identity. Yolanda McClary, Jean Grier and Michael Leclerc for taking a huge interest in this case by working with my DNA and genealogy. Yolanda and Jean never gave up working with small pieces of DNA trying to figure out my mother’s side of the family. Sam Kostichka on his research. Most of all, I thank all the people out there who have spent time researching various sites and data banks trying to solve who I am and give me back my name.
Thank you everyone for keeping my case alive.
Kelly courtesy El Dorado PD, Cathy Phillips.