A confessed murderer who committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial in 1983 has been definitively linked to the 1982 murder of Mary Edith Silvani near Lake Tahoe.
Silvani was originally known as Sheep’s Flat Jane Doe when her body was found, clothed as if her on way to a beach, in a meadowed area on Nevada State Route 431, a.k.a. Mt. Rose Highway, on July 17, 1982. She died of a gunshot wound, and her case went unsolved for 37 years until the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department approached the DNA Doe Project for help in revisiting the case.
The department gave a press conference on the case today.
As the Associated Press reports, Silvani was identified as the biological child of John and Blanche Silvani of Detroit, Michigan, and DNA from the scene was able to be linked to James Richard Curry, who was identified as a grandchild of a Dallas-area couple. It turns out that Curry was the illegitimate son of one of the couple's sons, and was unknown to the rest of the family. And as the Examiner reported at the time, Curry confessed on February 3, 1983 to the murders of business associates Gerald Novoselatz and his wife Sharon, as well as to the killing of Richard Lemmon Jr. the year prior. The killings occurred in Santa Clara and San Jose, respectively.
Detectives were never able to connect Silvani with Curry, as the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, but after testing all the children of the Dallas couple, the DNA Doe Project was able to conclude that Curry was Silvani's killer.
Silvani was 33 at the time of her death, and while many of her family members are dead, those who remain alive have been informed of the breakthrough in the case.
Curry took his own life while in jail in Santa Clara in 1983, prior to going to trial for the murders.
Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam declared today that the case is now closed.