The Happy Judy

Jennifer Judy was born in San Mateo, California and was the youngest of three children. Her friends and family described her as a happy and fiercely independent person who enjoyed playing sports. She was a champion swimmer in California and showed such promise that she was offered a chance to try out for the 1964 Olympics but turned it down. In 1965, her parents divorced. Jennifer initially lived with her mother following the separation then moved in with her father but left after he remarried. Jennifer struggled in school and ended up dropping out of Hillsdale High School in San Mateo during her junior year. Following that, Jennifer lived with her grandmother and step-grandfather in Ryland, Kentucky in the summer of 1968. While living there, Jennifer met and began dating a local boy. She enrolled in Holmes High School in Covington, Kentucky and moved in with her aunt and uncle to attend classes. However, she ended up unenrolling and moving to Fort Thomas, Kentucky to live with another aunt and uncle. She enrolled in a local high school there. In November of 1968, Jennifer flew home to visit her family, a visit she told friends that she had used to help patch up relationships with her family. She returned feeling optimistic though had learned that she had lost many credits while transferring high schools. She decided to unenroll again and take up a job, with plans to return in the fall of the following year.

Jennifer decided move to Cincinnati to be closer to her place of employment – Shillito’s, where she was a lingerie sales clerk. On December 8, she moved into the Fontbonne, a catholic residence for girls that was located at Fifth Street and Broadway. Jennifer lived alone in a single room at the residence but, she did make an effort to return to Kentucky to see her family on the weekends (Fort Thomas is only an eleven minute drive from Cincinnati). Jennifer was feeling optimistic about the future at this time, she remarked to a friend that she had felt like she had finally gotten her feet on the ground.

On February 11, 1969, Jennifer was dropped by her boss at the Fontbonne following her shift at Shillito’s at 6:30 PM. She was next seen at 8:40 PM walking in front of the Greyhound Bus Station, which was a block and a half away. She was walking east on Fifth. This would be the last time she was seen alive. Though it is unknown why Jennifer left her residence, authorities speculated she may have intended to drop in on a friend who lived in the Anna Louise Inn (another home for girls) that was located on Pike Street. This friend had moved very recently but hadn’t yet let her friends know so it was likely Jennifer was unaware of this.

Around 9:25 PM, an employee of Earls Insurance Agency arrived at the building’s location at 311 Pike Street. He intended to pick up work materials from the building but upon arriving discovered Jennifer’s body laying at the entrance, partially clothed. She had been stabbed to death, likely in the spot she was found. He immediately called authorities. Jennifer’s wallet was found discarded across the street and a keychain she carried was found lying in the street. A witness came forward who recalled seeing at 9:10 PM seeing a man running down an area of Fifth Street near Columbia Parkway, located a block from where Jennifer was found. This man was described as being African-American and around 5’6 to 5’8, wearing a brown, waist-length jacket and red scarf on his neck or head. Police sought this man out but it is unclear if he ever was located.

Three more witnesses came forward. They were three blind women who lived in the Anna Louise Inn who said they heard screaming around 9:05 PM. They did not come forward until police went door to door looking for information. They feared they would not be believed since at the time they heard the screams they were taking turns reading a book about the Boston Stranger to each other and would be dismissed as paranoid.

Due to the state of Jennifer’s clothing, police speculated that the attack was sexually motivated though they also believe robbery was a component. As of 2024, there have been no new developments in Jennifer’s case.

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