Three Years After Texas Woman’s Suicide, a Question Lingers: Who Was She?

Photo Credit: Fox News

Photo Credit: Fox News

To her husband, she was Lori Kennedy. But to a dogged federal investigator, she is “Jane Doe,” a Texas mother who killed herself three years ago in her family’s driveway after spending decades using stolen identities to erase a past that remains mired in mystery.

For two years, Social Security investigator Joseph Velling has been working to uncover the real identity of Lori Erica Ruff, who was Lori Erica Kennedy before marrying into an East Texas family in 2004. Prior to that, she was known as Becky Sue Turner, an identity forged with the birth certificate of a long-dead child. Velling, a seasoned government sleuth, has been stumped in figuring out the true name and background of this Jane Doe, who took on aliases with spy-like sophistication.

“She created a false identity for the sole purpose of getting lost in America,” Velling told “It must have been for some horrific reason…either she was running away from a crime or an abusive family or relationship.”

“She wanted a complete break from her past,” said Velling. “By changing her name, she created a clean identity – a person with no past.”

The mystery surrounding Jane Doe’s identity begins in May 1988, when the unknown woman requested the Bakersfield, Calif., birth certificate of a 2-year-old girl, Becky Sue Turner, who died in a 1971 house fire in Fife, Wash., Velling said.

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