Identification provides new hope in ‘Redhead Murders’

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A woman found murdered more than thirty years ago was recently identified by the TBI. The identification has breathed new hope into a cold case. 

22-year-old Tina Farmer went nameless for decades. She was found on the side of a road in Jellico, Tennessee on April 3, 1985.  

Farmer is believed to be a victim of the “Redhead Murders”. So is the woman who was found down an embankment on the side of I-24 West in Cheatham County.  

The woman was discovered near Pleasant View, Tennessee between mile marker 29 and 30 by a motorist having car trouble. Though she had been reduced to merely a skeleton, she still had her red hair.

There were seven redheads murdered across Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia in the mid-1980’s. Most of the women had been strangled. 

The woman found in Cheatham County was wearing clothing–a light pink shirt with pink flowers, a pink sweater with blue dots and a hat with a palm tree. 

“This is really sad. I don’t know why he just picked redheads,” said June Nicholson.  

June and her husband have lived in Pleasant View for over 60 years and are devastated by the details of the case. 

“She has parents and I think it’s a very sad situation because if my daughter was missing I would know where she was at and who did it,” said Nicholson. 

Todd Matthews with NAMUS, the National Missing and Unidentified System, says now that two of the seven murder victims have been ID’d, it brings hope for the other Jane Does. 

“That put a huge piece of the puzzle together. We know Tina Farmer is from Indiana, we know a lot more about her in general and that’s another step closer to resolving the entire redheaded murder,” said Matthews.  

He also believes it could be a step closer to the killer or killers.  

“When you find a body off the interstate the first thought is that it’s probably trucker or somebody who has a business on the road,” said Matthews. “Back in the day you had traveling salesman, you don’t have that so much today. It literally could be anybody.” 

The remains are currently at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, but Matthews would like to see them brought back to the regional forensic center in Middle Tennessee for further investigation. 

The TBI is also hoping the public can help provide information that may help solve these murders.  

If you have information, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND. 

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