Two Decade Old 'Pogonip Jane' Cold Case Solved by Santa Cruz Police

Familial DNA helped solve the case of a missing Pacifica girl found murdered in Santa Cruz.

Kori Lamaster, the victim of a homicide 20 years ago.
Kori Lamaster, the victim of a homicide 20 years ago.
A Pacifica teen whose parents didn't report her missing for 14 years after she was killed was determined to be the mystery murder victim found in Pogonip Park 20 years ago, Santa Cruz Police said Wednesday.

Kori Joanne Lamaster, who was 17 when she was murdered, was a runaway. She went missing in 1993, but her parents didn't report her missing until 2007. 

The case was dubbed “Pogonip Jane” when the body of a young female was found partially buried in Pogonip Park by two hikers on January 29, 1994. The victim was not identified and had not been reported as missing, according to Deputy Chief Steve Clark. 

The big break in the case came from familial DNA, a new technique that links genes of family members. A DNA sample from Lamaster's mother taken in 2008 was linked by the state crime lab to Kori in October. 

Familial DNA is a relatively new technology. It solved the three-year-old Kind Grind rape case in 2011. 

The Santa Cruz Police Department took special interest in the case because it was one that was investigated by Detective Loran "Butch" Baker, who was murdered in February. 

Said Clark: "Butch commented on how this case continued to haunt him, as well as his strong desire to bring notification and closure to the victim’s family, whoever and wherever they are. Butch never gave up trying to identify “Pogonip Jane”. Following his death in February, SCPD Detectives took up Butch’s case and were determined to bring it to closure. "

After the DNA hit, Detective Bruce Cline traveled to Washington state, where he found a fingerprint card taken from Kori when she was a child. That confirmed her identity.

Police are still seeking the murderer and have "persons of interest."

"In the course of our investigation, we identified a father and son who were witnessed to have traveled with Kori around the time of her death," said Clark. 

"These individuals were 'persons of interest' in our investigation and remain in that status today. They are Wayne White (father) and Greg White (son). Greg is since deceased, but Wayne lives in Tennessee. We are interested in talking with anyone who may information about this father and son team, especially anyone who may have witnessed them traveling with Kori.

To Leave ANONYMOUS information regarding this incident, please call our TIP LINE (831) 420-5995 or use the SCPD mobile iPhone and Android App  

notyrmma December 05, 2013 at 04:01 PM
The first question that comes to my mind is why didn't the family report this poor girl missing?! That makes me really sad.
Adam Muth December 05, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Here's an eerie fact: Her body was discovered just one day after the case of another missing girl, Kari Lynn Nixon's body was discovered in New York State: Only difference is that they caught and convicted Nixon's killer Robert Jones. Very unlikely Jones would be behind Lamaster's murder as well.
j.m. December 06, 2013 at 03:17 PM
what a sad, sad story. with a family like that no wonder she ran away. if you are a runaway, please take care of yourself and know there are organizations out there specifically to help you - especially if you are under 18 !
Mary Jane Jones December 06, 2013 at 08:10 PM
I knew Kori. I met her when I was 13 and she was 15. I started getting into trouble with her-- sneaking out, smoking, shoplifting, drinking and things like that. I was sent to "reform" programs and didn't see her after I was out. I did go by her house when I was 16 (she would have been 18) and her mother said that she had ran away and hadn't come back... I am sad to find out that this is what her fate was. She was a very sweet girl, although she had her issues. She just wanted to be liked and accepted, as any teenager does. I can't believe that someone would kill her like this. RIP Kori. I always wondered what happened to you throughout the years. I am praying that the piece of shit who did this to you will be caught. Miss you, friend!


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