Investigation continues into 'Orange Socks' cold case

In 1979, a passerby discovered the body of a woman lying in a ditch along Interstate 35. To this day the woman has not been identified and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office has only referred to her as "Orange Socks".

For almost 40 years, the murder investigation has remained shrouded in mystery because authorities have not been able to discover the identity of the woman.

Commander Jereme Brinkmann with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office says, "Nobody's come forward and asked about her. Her picture has been out there for many years."

The woman's body was found in what was then a ditch just off I-35 north of Georgetown. Deputies gave her the name "Orange Socks" because that's all she had on her body.

Commander Brinkmann says authorities did find a matchbook laying in the bar ditch near the body that was from a hotel in Oklahoma. Investigators traveled up there but couldn't find the woman on any registry.

Not only are authorities trying to identify the woman but they also are trying to find out who killed her.

In 1982, Henry Lee Lucas confessed to picking up "Orange Socks" in Oklahoma and killing her along the interstate and dumping her in Williamson County. 

"On the way down bringing Lucas to Georgetown the sheriff says Lucas pointed out to the culvert where he had dropped this girl," former Williamson County District Attorney Ed Walsh says. "We ended up indicting him and trying him for capital murder."

Walsh, who was the Williamson County District Attorney at the time, says Lucas was tried for the murder and convicted and sentenced to death. But Lucas later recanted his confession.

"He recanted on almost all his confessions after the trial. Nobody knows how many people he killed. He certainly didn't kill everybody he claimed to have killed. I would estimate about 100 folks," Walsh says.

Walsh adds, "Governor Bush reviewed the case and decided to commute his sentence to life and Lucas ended up dying in prison."

Many wonder though what would make Lucas confess to a murder he possibly didn't commit? Investigators say the evidence did not suggest that Lucas was the murderer.

Psychologist Tomas Yufik studies the neuroscience behind serial killers and says many of them "love to tease the police and the media and almost all of them are very much narcissistic."

Authorities have conflicted ideas on who killed "Orange Socks". Some believe it actually was Lucas but others think it was someone else.

Today the grave for her sits inside the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Georgetown. It says unidentified woman. Coins and golf balls are placed on the marker believed to be from strangers paying respects.

Walsh says, "It's really sad because she is somebody's daughter, maybe sister. I'm disappointed that after all these years she's never been identified."

But with the progression of DNA technology the Williamson County Cold Case Unit is taking another look at the case. They have an entire team of current and retired detectives to help solve her murder.

Commander Brinkmann says, "The key goal is to identify her. If we can get her identified hopefully that can lead us to who she's (hung) out with, where she's from."

In addition investigators can now test the socks to see where they were manufactured. They also plan to examine the ring that was on her finger. 

"Orange Socks" may be unidentified but for law enforcement justice for her is a priority because they say her life still matters.

If you have any information you're asked to contact the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.