No More Secrets for This Serial Killer

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.
5 min readApr 25, 2022

Patsy Skiple is Finally Headed Home

copyright free, courtesy of Santa Clara Sheriff’s office

We now know the name of a 1993 victim of serial killer Keith Hunter Jesperson. Her name is Patricia “Patsy” Skiple, a native of Colton, Oregon, mother of two, and Gloria White’s beloved sister. In 1992, she disappeared from her home in Molalla, Oregon in the middle of the night after she and her husband argued. She was forty-five years old. No one ever saw her again.

On June 3, 1993, a truck driver who had pulled over found an unknown deceased woman on the side of the California State Route 152 in the Gilroy area of San Francisco Bay. Police dubbed her “Blue Pacheco,” “blue” for the color of the clothes she was wearing, and “Pacheco” for the nickname of the highway near where she lay. There was no way to identify her or tell how she died. So, for the next twenty-nine years, Patsy’s family wondered why she didn’t come home, and police wondered who she was and what happened to her.

Flying Under the Radar

In 1995, Keith Hunter Jesperson, a long-haul trucker himself, was arrested and charged with killing his girlfriend, forty-one-year-old Julie Ann Winnington, in Washington state. This relationship with one of his victims was an anomaly; the seven other women he eventually confessed to murdering between 1990 and 1995 were women he had met in bars or sex workers he encountered at truck stops. He killed women in several states; Washington, California, Oregon, Nevada, Florida, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

It is unclear why Jespersen took the risk of murdering someone he knew. Perhaps he was annoyed that he wasn’t getting credit for his violent and sadistic acts and decided to up the ante.

There were hints that Jespersen wanted people to know what he’d done. His first clues were subtle; he gave an anonymous confession — along with incriminating details — of his first murder on the wall of a bathroom truck stop. When that failed to get Jespersen the attention he craved, he began sending taunting letters to the media and police. His nickname, the “Happy Face Killer,” came from his signature sign-off to his letters — the drawing of a happy face.

An Unlikely Alibi

Right away, Jesperson was a person of interest. Witnesses had seen him approach twenty-three-year-old…

Joni E. Johnston, Psy. D.

Forensic psychologist/private investigator//author of serial killer book. Passionate about victim’s rights, the psychology of true crime, and criminal justice.