Murder of Reet Jurvetson – The police are looking for two “persons of interest”

Sept. 9, 2016

Written by Gabrielle Duchaine for La Presse
Originally published on September 9, 2016

The Los Angeles police continue to progress in their investigation of the murder of Reet Jurvetson, originally from Montreal, stabbed to death with 150 knife wounds in 1969 and identified only last year as a result of DNA testing.

Forty-seven years later, the challenge seemed almost beyond human capacity. But step-by-step, piece-by-piece, the Los Angeles police continue to progress in their investigation into the murder of Reet Jurvetson, originally from Montreal and stabbed to death with 150 knife wounds in 1969 and identified only last year as a result of DNA testing.

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Police Department detectives unveiled the composite sketches of two men who are considered to be “persons of interest.” This man was a friend of Reet Jurvetson and could have been in Los Angeles at the time of the murder.

Unidentified male John or Jean

PICTURE PROVIDED BY THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

The detectives who are responsible for the case now have an address and portrait drawings of two men that Reet supposedly travelled to Los Angeles to meet up with, and who are actively sought today. Once again, the police are asking for the public’s help to help solve some more of the mystery surrounding the death of the young woman who was known for decades as Jane Doe #59.

“It would be wonderful if there was a breakthrough that would allow the police to discover what happened in the last weeks of Reet’s life”, pleads her older sister, Anne Jurvetson.

The 19-year old girl’s bloody body was found in November 1969 by a passer-by in the bushes along Mulholland Drive. The young woman had just moved to the United States.

The victim had no ID. She was wearing Levi jeans made in Boston, Italian boots and a blue corduroy jacket made in Montreal. At the time, the news of the murder never made it to Quebec. The case was categorized as unsolved. During this time, in Quebec, the Jurvetson family was looking in vain for the youngest member of the family.

Then, last summer, almost 50 years after the crime, a friend of the Jurvetson family stumbled across a picture of the corpse of a green-eyed brunette who looked just like the missing woman, on an American site of missing and unidentified people. A few months later, a DNA test confirmed the worst.

DO YOU KNOW THESE MEN?

Since then, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives are making very slow progress. But it is progress. Yesterday, they unveiled the composite sketches of two men who are considered to be “persons of interest.”

One of the sketches shows a young man who looks like Jim Morrison, with long, dark hair, a boyish face and full lips. It’s a sketch of a man named Jean, or John, a Montrealer who allegedly was Reet’s boyfriend at the time of her death. He is the person she went to visit in L.A. The police have no other clues than his first name and a physical description. What became of him over the last 50 years remains a mystery.

The sketch was made by Montreal artist who knew the victim and her lover before they left for the United States. La Presse had found him in May, after the LAPD launched a wanted notice.

At the end of the ‘60s, the couple patronized the Image café on du Parc Avenue, a Mecca for hippies, where Mr. Robert worked as a waiter. “[Jean] was always clean. He wore a nice jean jacket and a white shirt with his long hair that fell on his shoulders”, the witness had confided to La Presse in May.

The other sketch shows a young man with a “Beatles” haircut. According to the police, he was shorter than Jean. He was also a friend of Reet and could have been in Los Angeles at the time of the murder. “The other man has not yet been officially identified, but his name could be Jean too”, states the LAPD in a release. “Witnesses may remember seeing them together”, hope the Californian police.

5311 MELROSE AVENUE

What did Reet do before dying? Before the murder, the last news the family received arrived by postcard at the family home in Westmount, in the fall of 1969. A card that Anne Jurvetson, the only surviving member of the family, vaguely remembered and that she searched and searched for in the boxes of things that had belonged to her deceased mother and that are piled in her basement.

She finally found it in August. It has a picture of Malibu beach and a tender message written in Estonian, her parents’ mother tongue. On it, there is also an address.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes”, the woman told La Presse. “I cried and sobbed for more than an hour. I was overwhelmed by emotion. Finally, we have an address where Reet lived in Los Angeles.”

The young woman lived in Hollywood, at the Paramount Hotel, 5311, Melrose Avenue, steps away from the Paramount Pictures movie production company’s facilities. Reet lived in apartment 306 in the large, four-story brick building, where several people involved in the movie industry lived during the ‘30s and ‘40s, including the western movie actor, Bud Osborne. The building was torn down in 1989.

“I really hope that this address, or the name of the building, or the fact that it backed onto Paramount Studios, will jog someone’s memory”, said Anne Jurvetson. I pray that someone will remember having lived there and having met my sister. Or even that someone from Montreal who knew the two friends she went to see, will remember them because they lived there.”

Do you have any information regarding this case? Please contact us.

To reach detectives Luis Rivera and Veronica Conrado at the LAPD’s Unsolved Crimes Unit: 213 486-6818.

 

MORE THAN 50 YEARS OF MYSTERY

Fall 1969

Reet Jurvetson sent a postcard to her parents in Montreal. “The weather is beautiful and the people are nice. I have a cute little apartment. I go to the beach often”, she wrote. The family never heard from her again.

November 1969

A passer-by found the bloody body of a young woman in the bushes bordering Mulholland Drive. The victim, who had been stabbed at least 150 times, had no ID. The case was categorized as unsolved. For the police, she became Jane Doe #59.

2003

An LAPD detective put pictures online, made by forensic artists, of Jane Doe #59’s corpse. The Los Angeles police’s Unsolved Crimes Unit, which has had approximately 9,000 unsolved murder cases in its territory since the ‘60s, uses this technique from time to time to reactivate investigations.

June 2015

One of Reet’s friends stumbled across a picture of the corpse of a green-eyed brunette who looked just like the missing woman on an American site of missing and unidentified people. The friend contacted the family. A DNA test confirmed that it was Reet’s body that was found in 1969.

March 2016

LAPD detectives Luis Rivera and Veronica Conrado spend five days in Montreal to meet with witnesses. They tried to establish a link between Reet and a man that she had met in Montreal, “Jean” or “John”. “We know that she came to Los Angeles to meet this man. If anyone knows this person, or remembers him, this is the kind of information that we need to help the investigation”, said Detective Rivera.

May 2016

The LAPD detectives were searching for someone named Paul Robert, a street artist who is between the ages of 60 and 80. The police believed that his testimony could help unblock the investigation. He was not considered to be a suspect in this case.

May 2016

La Presse found Paul Robert, who agreed to share his memories. He remembers young Reet who patronized the Image café very well, where he worked as a waiter on du Parc Avenue. He also remembers her boyfriend, a Jim Morrison look-alike. His description corresponds to that of the man that Reet went to see in California, and who is considered to be a “person of interest” by the police.

September 2016

The LAPD distributed two composite sketches of “persons of interest” in the Jurvetson case. The detectives are asking for help from the public to identify them. The LAPD is also giving out Reet Jurvetson’s last known address. Before her death, she lived at the Paramount Hotel in Hollywood, steps away from the Paramount movie studios.