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LA sheriff's detectives seek to solve old murder

Posted: October 5, 2012 9:00 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Dave Dolson speaks during a news conference at Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau in Monterey Park.

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators said Thursday they have determined that a body found burned, nude and rolled down a roadside embankment 17 years ago belongs to a woman who vanished from her home on California's Central Coast.

They are now asking the public's help in finding the killer of Gail Allen of Morro Bay. The 20-year-old was last seen there close to the time the body was found in late October 1995.

Allen's body was found in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina and could not be identified because of her burned condition, though detectives produced a composite drawing.

"She was discovered unclothed in a sleeping bag, burned, dumped off the side of the road," sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson told reporters Thursday.

She was listed as a Jane Doe until this June, when investigators linked tissue samples from the body to DNA samples collected this year from her father, Marcus Allen of Victorville, and her mother, Deborah Forester of Colorado.

The initial investigation of the found body produced no leads on the identity of the victim or possible suspects.

Morro Bay police began their own investigation after a friend reported Allen missing under suspicious circumstances three years later, in October 1998, and enlisted help from the FBI.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said Allen didn't have a close relationship with her family, so they didn't immediately find it suspicious that they hadn't heard from her.

Investigators learned that Allen had been living with Marquis Detar, the father of her then-2-year-old daughter, in Morro Bay. He told police he had last seen her sometime close to Halloween 1995 — around the time the body was found — as a passenger in a red Chevrolet Camaro.

Detar, who has been living in Florida since 2006, said she had collected belongings from their apartment and left with a man whose identity he did not know.

According to the Sheriff's Department, Detar said she had been coming and going freely from the apartment they shared shortly before her disappearance, and she had befriended a man he knew only as "Cowboy" while she was working at a Taco Bell restaurant.

Police said she left her job at Taco Bell, possibly without picking up her last paycheck, and are especially interested in interviewing anyone who worked with her or knew her from there.

Authorities asked that anyone with information call the Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau at 323-890-5500.

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