On July 11th, 1991, in El Dorado, Arkansas the body of a woman was found in Room 121 of the Whitehall Motel. The lady was a known identify thief, estimated to between eighteen and thirty years of age. Jane Doe used many names when she was alive, including Mercedes (the name of which her friends knew her as), Kelly Carr and Sharon Wiley, none of which were found to be her real name.
'Mercedes' earliest verified location was in Dallas, Texas where she was arrested for prostitution. She then travelled to Lousiana, and finally El Dorado where she worked as a topless dancer in Little Rock prior to her death and lived with an African America family in Irving, Texas for a period of time.
To her friends, 'Mercedes' told various different stories about her past. She told one friend that she was a stripper from out of town who did not get along with her mother, however to a different friend she said she was under witness protection as her father was in the Mafia. Police investigating her identity found no ties to the witness protection programme, or the mafia, or bank robberies she told her friends she was involved in. Police did suspect involvement in a 1988 murder of a truck driver after she told a story about how she lured truck drivers in to steal money and one of these interactions ended in death. A white woman and a few men were seen near the scene of the crime. However, police could find no definitive evidence of any involvement in the truck drivers murder. She also suggested that she had one or two children at some point in her life.
'Mercedes' met James McAlphin whilst living in Dallas. The relationship was abusive, and she had to visit the hospital many times during their time together. In June 1991, she finally moved out and went to live with a friend. James continued to reach out to her after the move and continued to threaten her. On July 10th, he convinced her to go to the hotel room with the promise of money. A neighbour witnessed part of the interaction that evening, with her attempting to escape via the parking lot. James proceeded to hit her and drag her back inside the room, arguing was heard back and forth and eventually, a gunshot was heard and James sped off.
McAlphin was soon arrested and charged with first-degree murder along with battery. He denied the killing, stating that 'Mercedes' had killed herself and he only hit her. This claim was dismissed. James refused to help the police, only saying that he had met her mother and sister in Florida. Police began the search for her identity alone and eventually found a social security and identification card with a photo which identified the woman as Cheryl Ann Wick. They traced Cheryl to Minnesota and got in touch with her family to inform them of their loss. However, the family put the police in touch with the real Miss Wick who was alive and well, stating that she had earlier had her identification stolen whilst working as a dancer. She had no knowledge of 'Mercedes'.
James has recently claimed to know the true identity of the El Dorado Jane Doe and promises information in exchange for $4,000. To support his claims, he has released information that he says is connected to her past. Apparently, 'Mercedes' had been on the streets from the age of sixteen after falling in love with a man who forced her into prostitution in the Dallas area. He states she had avoided being trafficked by developing a relationship with a pimp named Jeffery Davis before running away with another pimp named Tyrone. He also claims 'Mercedes' had grown up with three Fort Worth girls who had been abducted/trafficked in that area. The three girls named did go missing in 1974, however it is unknown if they had any connection to Mercedes. McAlphin has been deemed an unreliable source by the police.
Other efforts to identify the Jane Doe have failed, and although there are many pictures of her, no family members have ever come forward and her place of origin is still unknown. Her case was well publicised, as her murder was solved. The only thing missing is her identity. Unless anyone comes forward with new information, it is unlikely the truth about who the woman is will ever be uncovered.