34-year-old Florida woman identified as 1 of 8 'Happy Face Killer' victims

34-year-old Florida woman identified as 1 of 8 ‘Happy Face Killer’ victims

(As originally published with additional photos and background, Tue, October 3rd 2023, 3:03 PM EDT; first article here)

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (TND) — A victim of the so-called “Happy Face” serial killer who struck in six states over six years has been identified.

Authorities in Florida’s panhandle identified 34-year-old Suzanne L. Kjellenberg as a local victim.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference, Tuesday.

Kjellenberg had been a Jane Doe for nearly 30 years, from her 1994 murder until recently, when advanced DNA testing was able to help identify her. Skeletal remains had to be sent to a laboratory outside Houston for testing.

The effort to identify Kjellenberg started way back. In fact, in 1995, authorities in Palm Beach County developed a composite drawing of what she may have looked like.

Keith Jesperson had confessed to murdering eight women, from 1990 to 1995 in California, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, and Florida.

34-year-old Florida woman identified as 1 of 8 'Happy Face Killer' victims
Suzanne L. Kjellenberg of Florida is the latest victim of “Happy Face Killer” Keith Hunter Jesperson to be identified, Oct. 3, 2023. (Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies believe Kjellenberg was his sixth victim.

Authorities said she was beaten, raped, and strangled before being tossed in a wooded area off Interstate 10.

Jesperson, a long-haul truck driver, reportedly admitted to picking her up at a truck stop in Tampa before taking her north and killing her.

Identifying victims has taken some time.

Two and a half years ago, it was a woman from Colton, Ore., who’d been known only as “Blue Pacheco” for the color of her clothing. Her body was left near a San Francisco-area highway, and it took years to identify her as Patricia “Patsy” Skiple, who was about 45 years old when she was killed.

Jesperson is in prison in Oregon, serving four life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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Reporting from WEAR-Pensacola, Fla.; KVAL-Eugene, Ore.; and WPEC-West Palm Beach, Fla., is included in this report.

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