Cold Case May Be Linked to Happy Face Serial Killer
Nearly a quarter century has gone by since someone ran over Tina Stensaa, a 17 year old girl, in Weed on Valentine’s Day in 1986, leaving her mangled body on the rain-soaked asphalt of South Weed Boulevard for a passing motorist to find.
Siskiyou County investigators hope they may have finally found her killer. Siskiyou County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said a confession posted on a website points to Keith Hunter Jesperson, a 55-year-old convicted serial killer. He is serving four life sentences in Oregon for murdering eight women in six states. In January, he pleaded guilty to murdering a still-unidentified woman in 1992 in Riverside County. A judge sentenced him to 25 years to life in prison to be served concurrently along with his three other life sentences. Jesperson is known as “The Happy Face Killer” because he would send notes signed with a smiley face to newspapers, detailing his crimes.
The Stensaa case went cold for 24 years, until Weed detectives recently discovered the posting on a website devoted to serial killer news. The site reposted a copy of a 1998 question and answer interview with Jesperson. The interview has since been reposted on a number of similar websites devoted to serial killers. In the posting, Jesperson doesn’t name his victim, and the year he provides in the alleged confession is incorrect. But the description of how he killed his victim appears to match how Stensaa died.
Jesperson claimed to have met a woman at Silva’s Restaurant while he was waiting for his girlfriend, a worker at the now-closed Truck Village truck stop. His girlfriend had stood him up for a date. He claimed he met a woman who “wanted to party” at the restaurant, so he took her back to his big rig to have sex. They were interrupted by Jesperson’s girlfriend who knocked on the big rig’s door. “I turned to my new friend who now was wanting to be my new lover and pal and grabbed her by the throat and held her till she passed out,” Jesperson said. “Tying her up and gagging her, I taped the knots so they would stay tight.” He allegedly confesses to moving the truck to a new spot, pulling the woman out of the truck and placing her under the big rig’s tires, then driving over her.
The last time her family saw her alive was on February 13, 1986.
-article by Ryan Sabalow, rewritten and adapted by admin –