The Enigma of El Dorado Jane Doe

Madison Tramel
16 min readDec 24, 2020

In most Doe cases authorities only have forensic reconstructions that can vary greatly throughout the years. Without a name it is hard to find a killer in most cases. However we have pictures of our Jane Doe while she was alive, and her killer has been caught, but her name still alludes authorities after almost 30 years. This is the story of El Dorado Jane Doe.

On July 10, 1991 a gunshot rang out from room 121 of the Whitehall Motel in El Dorado, Arkansas. A man was seen fleeing the scene with a gun in his hand, and he went to his car and drove away. When police entered the room they found a woman deceased on the floor from a gunshot wound to the head. She was a Caucasian woman between the ages of 18–30, with 9 inch long brown hair (which had been dyed blonde previously), and blue eyes. She was between 5' 10"- 5'11" and weighed around 162 pounds. She was wearing acid wash jeans with a black belt, a white t-shirt, white tennis shoes with white ankle socks, a gold colored chain bracelet on her right arm, and two ponytail holders. She had a birthmark under her left breast, freckles, 2 piercings in her left ear and 3 piercings in her right ear, and had scars on her right eye and left wrist (suggesting an intimacy with violence).

McAlphin and Jane Doe in front of the Whitehall Motel

Her killer, James McAlphin, was caught soon afterwards and charged with 1st degree murder and 2nd degree battery. McAlphin was Jane Doe’s former boyfriend and pimp. McAlphin knew Jane Doe as Mercedes, and their relationship was tumultuous and abusive. Jane Doe was constantly in the local Emergency Room for injuries inflicted on her by McAlphin in 1991. It had even gotten to the point where her friends and local police were trying to help her get out of this relationship. She eventually left him in June of 1991 and went to live at her friend’s, Andrea Cooksey, apartment. Soon after the move McAlphin started calling the apartment repeatedly threatening to kill Jane Doe because she had started seeing someone new. McAlphin had called once again in July of 1991 and offered money to Jane Doe if she would come see him. Although, Andrea told her not to go, Jane Doe said that she wanted to get money to send presents to her children. So Jane Doe walked the short distance to the Whitehall Motel.

A neighbor to McAlphin, Roy Charles Menon, went over to room 121 to retrieve some cassette tapes that he had lent to McAlphin the night of July 10th. When he knocked on the door Jane Doe answered, and when he asked her for the tapes she said “You need to talk to him [McAlphin]” and pushed past Roy to leave. McAlphin followed her out to the parking lot and beat her repeatedly and screamed “Get back in the room bitch”, then he dragged her by her hair back into the room. After this Roy returned to his room and locked the door, he heard more arguing back and forth then- pow (the gunshot). Many people may question why Roy didn’t try to help the situation or insist that he should have done something. But this was a high crime area, and Roy didn’t know what was truly going on and was scared for his own safety.

Andrea just happened to be walking by the motel when the shot was fired, her first thought was- “Oh no he didn’t”. She went to investigate and saw McAlphin fleeing the scene. Andrea went to room 121 and found Jane Doe dead on the floor of the room.

McAlphin’s story was that Jane Doe had committed suicide, which he claimed that she had threatened to do before. For obvious reasons, the police didn’t buy it. The hospital visits confirming abuse, Andrea and Roy’s statements, and other witnesses who saw McAlphin fleeing with the gun in his hand were all proof that Jane Doe was murdered. McAlphin ended up accepting a plea deal for 2nd degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years, of which he served 13.

But who did McAlphin kill?

Jane Doe’s IDs

The police found an ID with Jane Doe’s picture and a social security card, both used the name Cheryl Ann Wick of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The police contacted her parents to inform them of the tragic news that their daughter had been murdered. Of course, her parents were devastated. Her sister was also there when her parents were given the news, and (in her grief) called her sister. And, to everyone’s surprise, Cheryl answered. Her sister asked something to the affect of “Are you dead?” and Cheryl answered “No I’m fine”.

Turns out Jane Doe had stolen Cheryl Ann Wick’s identity. Wick had been a dancer for a Minneapolis company “Party Time” and kept all of her documents in her purse (including her social security card). While she was working many people had access to her things, and she didn’t know that the card was missing until she was informed by police. It is unknown whether Jane Doe stole the social security card directly or bought if off of someone. But Cheryl Ann Wick didn’t recognize Jane Doe, so this led to the first (of many) dead ends.

A Bible was also found in Doe’s possession and contained names of the Stroud family. The names were: Willie James Stroud, Sharon Yvette Stroud, Ladonna Elaine Stroud, Johnny Lee Stroud, Viola Elizabeth Ross Stroud, Donna Jean Stroud, Bobbie Joan Stroud, and Willie James Dantzler Sr. This seemed like a family heirloom, so the police followed this lead and tried to track down the Stroud family. They were eventually tracked to Irving, Texas but police knew that they probably weren’t related to Jane Doe because they were African American and she was white. However, they confirmed that Jane Doe had lived with them from mid-late 1990. She was there under the name Cheryl Ann Wick, a runaway from Louisiana, who had just moved there from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Another dead end.

She also had a diary with her. Only a few pages have been released but some clues could be gathered from them. Her entry, from August of 1990, stated that she and a boyfriend (possibly McAlphin) were staying with a woman “Gail” and a man “Tyrone”. The location isn’t known, but it isn’t Texas because she expressed in the entry that she wanted to go to Texas for work. Although some believe that this entry was written in Shreveport, Louisiana. The entry also mentioned that Gail’s grandmother, who lived in Fresno, had just suffered a heart attack. Gail didn’t seem to be happy that Jane Doe and her boyfriend were staying with them. Unfortunately, neither Gail nor Tyrone have ever been found or identified. Dead end yet again.

Jane Doe also collected menus from various restaurants in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia including: Phillip’s Waterside, the Raven, and Worrell Bros. They also found a flyer from Boyd Sound Studio in Wylie, Texas (close to Dallas).

Police also connected Jane Doe to several different identities, including: Kelly Lee Carr, Kelly Karr, Kelly Carr, Cheryl Ann Wick, Cheryl Wick, Cheryl Kaufman, Helen Stenner, and Mercedes (sometimes Sheryl instead of Cheryl). None of these are her real name, and she used all of them though Cheryl Ann Wick was her “favorite”. Helen Stenner, “from Oklahoma”, was an alias given by McAlphin years later and wasn’t connected to her by police investigation. Through these identities they could track her movements through around a year.

Jane Doe’s May 1991 Mugshot

In the late 1980s she lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Sometime between 1990–1991 Jane Doe had worked at a club named “Prime Time” in Little Rock, Arkansas as a topless dancer under the name Kelly Carr from Florida. In 1990 she also worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Dallas, Texas under the name Cheryl Ann Wick with the false social security card. As previously mentioned, Jane Doe lived with the Strouds from mid-late 1990 and stayed with “Gail” and “Tyrone” in August of 1990. On December 31, 1990 Jane Doe was arrested in Dallas, Texas for prostitution under the name Cheryl Ann Wick from Minnesota. She listed her address as 4300 Harry Hines Boulevard Apartment 27 in Dallas, TX also known as the La Casita Motel, a popular prostitution destination. She was arrested again on January 26, 1991 for prostitution in Dallas, Texas. On February 8, 1991 Jane Doe was arrested for public lewdness at 3211 Forest Lane in Garland, Texas (The Carousel Motel). She lived and worked out of room 66 as a prostitute under the name Cheryl Ann Wick. In early 1991 she spent some time in Shreveport, Louisiana with McAlphin where he claimed that Doe’s mom and sister visited them. Soon afterwards she moves to El Dorado, Arkansas and frequently visits the E.R. for injuries related to domestic battery under the name Kelly Carr. In May of 1991 Jane Doe was arrested for bad checks in El Dorado, Arkansas. This is the last point that they could track her until her death in July of 1991.

What was her story according to McAlphin?

He stated that when she was younger she was taken by force and thrust into the world of sex work and later, as an adult, chose this lifestyle. An African American man, whom she had fallen for, pimped her out in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The pimp had other young girls who would be dragged to Brownsville or El Paso, Texas (near the U.S.- Mexico border) and traded for Mexican girls if they were rebellious. Local girls were “trusted” and Jane Doe developed a relationship with her pimp JD to ensure her safety. She later ran away from JD with Tyrone and met McAlphin somewhere in the Dallas area. According to McAlphin, they (Tyrone, Jane Doe, and McAlphin)ended up in Louisiana.

JD, the former pimp, was identified as Jefferey “JJ” Davis a pimp from Dallas. Tyrone, in some sources, is suspected to be a pimp in Florida (or possibly Louisiana, according to McAlphin).

The Fort Worth 3, in order: Julie Ann Moseley, Lisa Rene Wilson, and Mary Rachel Trlica

McAlphin stated that Jane Doe “grew up friends” with the Fort Worth Three and that they were “like sisters”. The Fort Worth Three are Mary Rachel Trlica (17), Lisa Rene Wilson (14), and Julie Ann Moseley (9) who went missing while Christmas shopping at Seminary South Shopping Center in Fort Worth, Texas on December 23, 1974. McAlphin stated that he and Jane Doe had visited the Fort Worth Three at some point in their relationship. He stated that the three girls “grew up in captivity” in the Dallas- Fort Worth area, sometimes near where their parents lived. McAlphin also stated that by adulthood they chose the sex worker lifestyle. He also claimed that “the younger one”, presumably Julie Ann Moseley, died giving birth.

McAlphin also stated that Jane Doe had two kids who she had left with “someone” in Fort Worth, Texas. He later mentioned that she was older than him when they met and he was 26 years old at the time, making her 27–28 at the time of her death.

While McAlphin’s claims were semi-detailed and provided interesting information, the investigating officer felt that “he didn’t have the truth in him”. McAlphin was a career criminal who had been arrested previously for firearms possession and aggravated assault. After being released for the murder of Jane Doe, he was arrested and charged with 2nd degree domestic battery in 2011 in Arkansas. He also only came forward with this information after his second conviction (2011), twenty years later, and requested $4,000 for this information. He kept asking for more and more things until it became clear that he didn’t truly know anything.

Many other people met Jane Doe throughout the years and each had a slightly different account of her life.

Andrea Cooksey met Jane Doe in a club where she danced under the name Mercedes, and they quickly became friends. Jane Doe told Andrea that she was a stripper from “out of town”, but she never said where from in particular. Andrea also said that Jane Doe had two kids who lived with her mother. Andrea knew that one of the children was a girl, and she couldn’t remember if the other child was a boy or a girl. But Jane Doe had a strained relationship with her mother, and she couldn’t see her children. Andrea added that Jane Doe was completely terrified of McAlphin and what he could do to her, so it makes one wonder why she went there that night.

Sloane McCaster, a member of Websleuths, met Jane Doe as Mercedes at a club in Fayetteville, Arkansas sometime between 1989–1990. Jane Doe also mentioned that she had been in Dallas for a while. They bonded and she described Jane Doe as timid and scared of her boyfriend (McAlphin, presumably). McCaster wondered why Jane Doe stayed with him and felt that her boyfriend “had something on her”, so that he could keep her under his thumb. It was actually this meeting and learning of her case that got Sloan McCaster into cold case investigation in the first place.

Danielle, McAlphin’s niece, met Jane Doe when she was 9 years old and knew her for about one year. She called Jane Doe “Aunty Cheryl”, so she must have been using one of her Cheryl identities at the time (most likely Cheryl Ann Wick). Jane Doe and McAlphin came to visit Danielle’s grandma and said that they had just been in Florida. Danielle described Jane Doe a sweet, kind-hearted, but felt like she was running from something. Danielle also thought that she was a stripper based on the way she was dressed, and she also always had wads of money on her.

A volunteer at the Salvation Army in El Dorado, Arkansas said that Jane Doe briefly stayed their in March of 1991. Jane Doe said that she had lived at 1100 Cadiz Street in Dallas, which is actually the Dallas LIFE homeless shelter. Jane Doe also mentioned that her child had been taken away by social services and, because she had used a different name at that time, she couldn’t get the child back. The shelter’s records have either been lost or destroyed, sources differ, and the shelter moved locations. Most of the people who worked there at the time have since passed away or they can’t be located.

Police found, though it’s unclear from where or from whom, that Jane Doe had once worked as an exotic dancer in Dallas using the name Mercedes. She had also danced at strip clubs in Little Rock, Arkansas, and (possibly) in Virginia and Minnesota.

She also told some wild stories to different people. She had told some people that her father was in the mafia and that she was in the witness protection program, this has later been confirmed to be false.

Dwayne McCorkendale and his twin daughters

There was one rumor that Jane Doe, under the name Kelly C(K)arr, was briefly a suspect in a series of bank robberies on the East Coast but was quickly ruled out.

She also told some people that she was a lure in robbery(s) at a truck stop(s). She said that she worked with a black man and that he shot and killed one of them, so they were now on the run for that murder. This is of note because she was briefly considered a suspect in the November 12, 1988 murder of 27 year-old truck driver Dwayne McCorkendale at a rest stop in Chandler, Oklahoma. The people involved in the fatal shooting were described as a black male, a white male, and a white female driving a brown Ford Pinto. The same car had also been harassing several other truck drivers earlier that day using a CB radio and tried to cut the other trucker’s off on the road. In any case, the lead investigator “wasn’t able to determine anything” and Dwayne McCorkendale’s murder remains unsolved.

Every clue that they got and every person they talked to just led to more questions. And most of these questions still remain unanswered, however, many missing females have been ruled out as being Jane Doe:

It is important to note that all of these women, with the exception of Amanda Slaughter, are still missing.

The current detective on the case Lt. Cathy Phillips is an over 25 year veteran of the force is obsessed with solving this case. After a conference call with the DNA Doe Project, Phillips uploaded Jane Doe’s DNA to GEDmatch.

In January of 2019 Phillips was notified of a paternal DNA match to a woman from Alabama, Christina Tilford. They found her on Facebook and sent her a message. A genealogist assisting on the case tracked Jane Doe and Tilford’s common relatives to Daniel Wood and Mamie Carter, of Virginia, who had nine children and were Tilford’s great-grandparents. Tilford is Doe’s second cousin, but doesn’t recognize her. However, when shown pictures of Jane Doe she noticed the family resemblance.

Tilford had uploaded her DNA to trace her family roots and stated “I was really shocked. I didn’t expect something like this to come from my DNA test”.

After asking other family members, no one knew of anyone who went missing, ran away, or was put up for adoption. This led Phillips to believe that Jane Doe may have been born out of wedlock and had little to no relationship with her father, as this was a paternal DNA match. However, they are acquiring DNA samples from other family members to narrow it down.

Tilford did add that “Her story just breaks my heart. She deserves a name and it would be wonderful if we could find any children she might have had”.

While not much else is know there are some generalizations that can be gathered from what we do know:

Jane Doe was probably born between 1960–1973. If she had kids they were likely born between 1975–1990, as people saw her in 1990 and no one mentioned her being pregnant.

I scoured NAMUS and the Charley Project for cases that could fit Jane Doe and came up with a list of possible identities

Eva Marie Ridall is the one that seems the most interesting due to her actions. She used several aliases and longed to live a transient lifestyle. It is believed that she was a runaway, as she had done it before. Also the fact that she frequently dyes her brown hair blonde makes her a good possibility in my mind.

Many believe, due to the new DNA results, that Jane Doe was the daughter of a single mom who was likely born out of wedlock or was the result of an extramarital affair. She was probably not in the foster care system due to records that they kept, meaning that she was likely raised (to a certain age) by a parent or guardian. Many believe that she was never reported missing by this parent or guardian for unknown reasons, which is why identifying her has been a struggle.

The best way to identify her is through a maternal DNA match, as her paternal side wasn’t aware of her existence. Another way to find her identity, if she did have kids, is that some records may exist of them from CPS which means that they can be tracked down and get their DNA tested. If they grew up with Jane Doe’s mother custody records could also exist.

A plethora of questions still remain: Why did she use so many different identities? Many people said that McAlphin “had something on her”, what was it? What was she hiding from? Why did she go to the motel that night? Did she have children? Who are “Gail” and “Tyrone”? Did she really know the Fort Worth 3? Was McAlphin telling the truth?

Some may be answered when she is identified, however, some will probably remain unanswered.

In the end, a young woman’s life was ended by her habitual abuser and her death sparked a mystery that has lasted for almost 3 decades.

As of today El Dorado Jane Doe has been unidentified for 29 years, 5 months, and 13 days.

If you have any information, no matter how small, please contact:

  • Lt. Cathy Phillips at (870)-881–4810
  • El Dorado Crime Stoppers at 1-(870)-863–4636



On May 24, 2022 the identity of El Dorado Jane Doe was released to the public. To respect the family’s privacy, only her first name Kelly was released. Kelly was born in Virginia in 1968 to a woman named Brenda. This makes her only 23 at the time of her murder. Her mother was married to someone who wasn’t Kelly’s biological father. Kelly’s life was stable until her mother and stepfather separated in 1971. Before their eventual divorce in 1972, another little girl joined the fracturing family.

Brenda remarried when Kelly was 4 to an abusive man and that marriage lasted for 7 years. She quickly married again, but that marriage ended in December of 1979 after Brenda’s husband committed suicide.

For the next 2 years Kelly lived with her mother and sister in Charlottesville, Virginia. Brenda went to Virginia Beach on a “vacation” that lasted one and a half years. During this time, Kelly and her younger sister lived with their aunt. When Kelly was 15 her mother asked her aunt to send Kelly and her sister to Virginia Beach.

Kelly went while her sister stayed with their aunt. Brenda and Kelly moved to Florida and Kelly dropped out of high school and got a job at a pop-up jewelry kiosk. Her mother ended up stealing from that kiosk, which was her mother’s main money-making technique.

Her mother failed to pay rent very often leading to the two moving around a lot. In around 1984–1985, Kelly ended up calling her aunt and asking to move back in with her as her mom’s crimes and cocaine addiction were getting to be too much for her.

Kelly was subsequently kicked out for her own cocaine problem, which she later went to rehab for in 1986. After getting out of rehab she went to live with her aunt in Texas.

From 1986–1989 she lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. She moved back to Florida with her mother in 1989. She left her mom for Norfolk, Virginia in 1990. Her story from here has been well documented.

Brenda returned to Virginia where she died in 2008. Although she ran into family members in the years after her daughter’s murder who asked her where Kelly had gone. She didn’t know and didn’t seem to care.

I hope that Kelly’s family knows how much people including myself who have cared for her over the years.



Madison Tramel

A forensic psychology student who is passionate about cold cases.