The Trail Went Cold – Episode 8 – The El Dorado Jane Doe

July 10, 1991. El Dorado, Arkansas. A young blonde woman known to her friends as “Mercedes” is shot to death by her estranged ex-boyfriend at a seedy motel. It turns out Mercedes has been living under a stolen identity and no one in her life – not even the man who murdered her – knows who she really is. An extensive check into the woman’s background turns up many pieces of a puzzle which does not fit together and investigators are unable to uncover her true identity. However, it is possible she might be connected to some other unsolved cold cases… including one we have previously featured on this very podcast! Join me for a new episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, as I share the story of the mysterious unidentified woman known as “El Dorado Jane Doe”.

Please check out the Doe Network profile page for El Dorado Jane Doe, which contains her vital statistics, numerous photographs, and contact info for the proper authorities should you happen to recognize her:

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

11 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Episode 8 – The El Dorado Jane Doe

  • Great episode, Robin.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes’ immediate family are all deceased, explaining why no one has come forward to verify her identity. Obviously back then the internet was nowhere near as far-reaching as it is now, so her family may have had no way of knowing her fate. Or even worse…they just didn’t care. Sadly, Mercedes strikes me as the keeper of secrets and a story of a tough life. I do believe she was a runaway. Perhaps she ran from serious abuse or neglect. And it’s not uncommon for runaways to spin wild tales of their former life, for it’s far less painful than telling the real story.

    A couple things: Firstly, regarding the trucker who claimed the blonde woman appeared to be a drug addict. You posited that Mercedes may not have been involved with drug abuse, but what if she occasionally dabbled in drugs? Drug use or abuse in prostitution is common, and while it may be true that Mercedes wasn’t a heavy user, she could have partaken in the occasional bender. Maybe she partied with this “J.D” during that time, if it indeed was her whom the trucker saw. People under the influence are usually pretty obvious to others, and the trucker just assumed she was an addict. Upon appearance, one weekend of heavy use can be misconstrued as a long-term problem.

    Lastly, as far as her potential children wondering who/where their mother is, what if they were never told about their real mom? Mercedes’ children may think someone else entirely is their real mother, and have no clue as to the genuine story. This would explain why the children, if they exist, have not actively tried to look for her.

    What an intriguing story. Thanks for this episode, and for all of your lists on Listverse. For the past several years, every time I check out Listverse and see a list by Robin Warder, I immediately know it’s gonna be good.

    • Hi Mel, thanks for listening and for reading my articles on Listverse. Appreciate the compliments. I definitely do agree that Mercedes’ family are probably deceased or just don’t care about her. However, I was just contacted by the North American Missing Persons Network website who theorized about the possibility that Mercedes might be this girl who disappeared from Minnesota in 1986. This girl also disappeared alongside her boyfriend, so it’s possible she could have witnessed him get killed before she retreated to the southern U.S. and started a new life under new identity to protect herself:

      In regards to the Dwayne McCorkendale murder, I always assumed the killers were very, very desperate people since they shot him to steal $25, which he probably would have handed over to them willingly without any resistance. This why I thought they might be hardcore addicts who needed drug money very badly. But like you said, if that blonde woman was Mercedes, it’s possible she could have just been using drugs during that time period, but it wasn’t a full-time habit and she managed to get clean once she broke away from J.D. I really hope all the extra exposure this case is now getting will help answer a lot of these questions.

      • You’re very welcome, Robin. I’ll always enjoy your work.

        Wow, I got hopeful reading about Cynthia Schmidt, going through all the similarities in appearance. But then I read that she had brown eyes whereas Mercedes’ profile lists her as having blue eyes. Bummer. Unless there was some sort of clerical error? Because these two have similar builds, and you can sort of see a shared likeness when comparing photos. Thank goodness Mercedes kept so many pictures of herself; hopefully this helps someone in identifying her.

        Speaking of the fact that she kept all those photos. This is telling. It seems like she had a fairly healthy self-esteem and generally liked herself. This is why I agree with you too that she probably wasn’t a serious drug user, and some other details hint at a person trying to make a better life. Perhaps she planned on using some of the money owed to her by her killer to leave the area a well as buy gifts for her kids. We know that at one point she worked at a KFC, so she was definitely capable of getting out there to better herself. It would also fall in line with her trying to break away from J.D and his trucker-robbing scheme, if indeed it was her. I could see her saying to herself, this is the last straw, I’m done with this crap!

        It seems like there has been more exposure of her case recently so hopefully this will lead to something. I read at the doe network that she could have been a runaway from Florida, so perhaps all of us armchair sleuths could peruse the listings for missing persons from that area.

        Looking forward to your next podcast!

    • Thanks, appreciate it. You’ll be pleased to know that the next episode which be profiling the very first case ever featured on “Unsolved Mysteries”.

    I think the Oakland County Child Killer should get a turn. Michigan newspapers have ran story after story anniversary after anniversary. THE ONE CHILD’S FATHER JUST PASSED WITHOUT GETTING ANY JUSTICE….. Please keep these great stories coming!!!!

    • Thank you. Yes, I would love to cover the Oakland County Child Killer at some point. The part about the killer feeding the child Kentucky Fried Chicken as his last meal after his mother mentioned KFC on the news is one of the creepiest details I’ve ever heard in any case.

    • Thank you. I would definitely love to tackle the Lady in the Dunes, as the story’s got so many intriguing elements, such as her possibly being a Whitey Bulger murder victim to Stephen King’s son recently spotting a background extra in “Jaws” he thought might be her.

  • I just found your podcast and have been enjoying working my way through each case. While listing to this case I keep thinking, like the others have said, that she might have been a ward of the state or a teen runaway and that is why no one has come forward as her family, but I do think there are small kernels of truth in the stories that she told about her past. It was also mentioned that the authorities have DNA samples of her. That got me thinking about the Golden State Killer case and how the authorities took the DNA on file and ran it through an ancestry DNA matching site that is open to anyone posting DNA data to find ancestors and that is how the identity of the Golden State Killer was found. I know you would not have the answer but I wonder if the authorities thought of doing that with her DNA.

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