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After Decades Known Only As 'Valentine Jane Doe,' Teen Strangled With Her Own Bikini Is Identified, Along With Her Killer

Wanda Deann Kirkum was murdered 29 years ago in the Florida Keys, but it wasn't until advances in DNA that her identity was known. The same technology identified her killer as Robert Lynn Bradley, who himself was murdered a year later.

By Gina Tron
Wanda Deann Kirkum Robert Lynn Bradley Pd Ap

After nearly 30 years of being known only as “Valentine Jane Doe,” an unnamed Florida teen strangled on Valentine’s Day with her own bikini top has finally been identified, along with her killer.

The girl was last spotted hitchhiking out of Key West on Valentine’s Day 1991, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay stated Monday in a press release. Her body was found facedown in a wooded area by windsurfers the following day. She was nude except for a bikini top, which had been used to strangle her. Before she was killed, she was beaten and sexually assaulted.

She remained nameless, and her case was known as the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide,” for 29 years despite efforts to identify both her and her attacker. Her unsolved killing was even featured on several crime television shows, including “Unsolved Mysteries,” according to Ramsay. Still, she and her killer remained a mystery.

Advances in DNA technology have just changed all that. 

DNA obtained from the crime scene was recently tested at a lab, where experts were able to identify the victim as Wanda Deann Kirkum, 18, of Hornell, New York. She was never reported missing and her parents are now dead. 

Her DNA also matched another murder scene which occurred one year later. Robert Lynn Bradley, 31, was murdered in Tarrant County, Texas in April 1992. Bradley, who used to reside in Florida, has now been identified as Kirkum’s killer by investigators.

Little information is available about Bradley’s murder. The sheriff’s office did not immediately return Oxygen.com’s request for comment.

Ramsay stated in the release that “with the victim and suspect identities known, the Sheriff’s Office is formally considering the ‘Valentine Jane Doe Homicide’ resolved and closed.” 

Charges will not be filed. 

“I would like to personally thank Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their efforts in solving this very serious and tragic crime,” Ramsay said in the press release. “This case is a testament and shining example of this agency’s commitment to solving crime, no matter how old the case and no matter the challenges.”

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