Unearthing the Mystery of the Headless Manhattan Jane Doe by Befriending The Monster That Killed Her

Unearthing the Mystery of the Headless Manhattan Jane Doe by Befriending The Monster That Killed Her

In the gritty underbelly of 1970s Times Square, a chilling crime shook New York City. A man going by the name of “Carl Wilson” checked into the Travel Inn Motor Lodge, on 515 West 42nd Street, on November 29th, 1979. The area around Times Square and 42nd Street, known colloquially as “Forty-Deuce” or “the Deuce,” was notorious for its unsavory mix of pornography outlets, grindhouse movie theaters, strip clubs, and street drugs.

Carl Wilson was a tall man in his mid-30s, with a tuft of blondish hair. He had booked room 417 for four days over the weekend. According to the hotel staff, he was an ordinary guest, putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his door and staying largely unnoticed.

As the weekend wore on, two young women were seen entering room 417. The first, Deedah Goodarzi, was a 23-year-old immigrant from Kuwait, though some sources say Iran. With dark hair, high cheekbones, and a history of using aliases like Jacquelyn Thomas and Sabrina, Goodarzi was an attractive young woman trying to make her way in the city. The other woman, whose name is still unknown, was also in her 20s. Both women were prostitutes, seeking refuge in the warmth of the hotel from the unforgiving New York winter. They had been hired by Wilson.

Peter Vronsky, a true crime author, had the misfortune of crossing paths with Wilson. Staying in the same hotel, Vronsky noticed Wilson leaving the elevator with a suitcase, looking ordinary but noticeably sweating. Wilson’s bag, heavy and hard, bumped against Vronsky’s shin, leaving him with an uncomfortable feeling.

“As he got off the elevator he walked into me as if I was not there — walked through me — bonking me on the knee and shin with a soft-sided bag that felt as if it had bowling balls in it: rounded, hard and heavy.” — Peter Vronsky, recounting his encounter with Richard Cottingham.

Fast forward to December 2nd, the bodies of Goodarzi and the unidentified woman were discovered in room 417, horribly mutilated. Forensic pathologist Dr. Louis Napolitano noted that there were no penetrating wounds, only superficial cuts — a chilling detail that suggested the perpetrator intended to induce fear rather than kill quickly.

Source.

Only later was it revealed that Carl Wilson was actually Richard Cottingham, also known as the Times Square Ripper.

Richard Cottingham. Source.

The man Vronsky bumped into in the elevator was a brutal serial killer, his suitcase likely harboring his grim trophies.

Why does this story matter today, decades after the crime was committed? Deedah Goodarzi, a young mother who gave her child up for adoption, and the still-unidentified “Manhattan Jane Doe,” have families that deserve closure. Goodarzi’s daughter, Jennifer Weiss, only discovered her mother’s tragic fate in 2002, when she was 24. Since then, she has sought to understand her mother’s story, even establishing contact with Richard Cottingham.

Jennifer Weiss with Cottingham. Source

Weiss has been instrumental in coaxing Cottingham to reveal the identities of many of his victims, giving closure to five other families. The journey to uncover the truth about her mother and the other victims is not just about solving a mystery. It is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the pursuit of justice, even in the face of unspeakable horror.

“I’m doing this for the mothers who lost their daughters and my own mother. And for these girls that their lives were ended one night or day by Richard playing God. I’m not going to rest easy until we figure out who they were. So that’s why I do what I do.” — Jennifer Weiss, on her efforts to uncover the identities of Cottingham’s victims.

As we delve into this chilling tale, we remain hopeful for answers about the Manhattan Jane Doe. Her physical description suggests she was a young white woman between 16–22 years old, around 5'1" to 5'4", weighing between 100 to 110 pounds. Like Goodarzi, she too might have people out there who are waiting for answers. It’s crucial to remember that every piece of information, no matter how small, could be a stepping stone towards finally uncovering her identity.

Unraveling the identity of the “Manhattan Jane Doe” is not an isolated task. Her case is intertwined with that of Deedah Goodarzi. Goodarzi, an immigrant from Kuwait, navigated the perilous streets of New York City, ultimately falling victim to Richard Cottingham’s gruesome exploits.

A notable detail about Goodarzi’s identification comes from her medical history. She had a C-section scar from giving birth to her daughter, and the hospital in Trenton had X-rays under one of her aliases, Jacquelyn Thomas. This led to her successful identification after a friend reported her missing on December 7. Perhaps a similar approach could be applied to identifying the Manhattan Jane Doe.

Beyond the immediate facts of the case, we are reminded of the enduring human cost of such crimes. Jennifer Weiss, Deedah Goodarzi’s daughter, has spent years pursuing justice for her mother and the other victims. Cottingham himself, in a letter to Jennifer Weiss, expressed remorse for the pain he caused, saying, “I just don’t know what to say to you or how to say it. I can only tell you what’s in my heart and pray that you believe me. I am truly and deeply sorry, so very sorry, for all the pain I have brought into your life.”

Weiss’ journey is not solely for her mother. As a mother herself and a cancer survivor, she declared, “I’m doing this for the mothers who lost their daughters and my own mother. And for these girls that their lives were ended one night or day by Richard playing God. I’m not going to rest easy until we figure out who they were. So that’s why I do what I do.”

The story of the Times Square Ripper is a grim reminder of the dark underbelly that once plagued Times Square. Yet, it’s also a testament to the relentless human spirit and pursuit of justice, exemplified by Jennifer Weiss’ ongoing quest to reveal the identities of her mother’s silent companions in death. It serves as an important prompt for anyone who may have information that could help identify the “Manhattan Jane Doe,” reminding us all that every person deserves to be known and remembered, not as a number, but as an individual with a name and a story.

“I’m doing this for the mothers who lost their daughters and my own mother. And for these girls that their lives were ended one night or day by Richard playing God. I’m not going to rest easy until we figure out who they were. So that’s why I do what I do.” — Jennifer Weiss, on her efforts to uncover the identities of Cottingham’s victims.

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