Tuesday, May 27, 1994, is just two days after Jenny Lin’s 14th birthday. She comes home from school to an empty house in Castro Valley, California. Like a lot of kids, both of her parents work, and Jenny is expected to get her chores and homework done before they get home. But also like a lot of kids, especially a lot of teenagers, Jenny decides that before she gets to work on those tasks, she will talk to some friends on the phone. Jenny’s last call ends just after 5pm. About 30 minutes later, her father, John Lin, calls home to check on her, but there’s no answer. He doesn’t immediately panic; Jenny is a very responsible kid and she’s used to this routine. She’s probably just doing something and didn’t hear the phone.
Around 7pm, John walks into a quiet house. He doesn’t see Jenny anywhere. But it’s clear that Jenny had been there. The back door is unlocked, the TV is on, and Jenny’s microwave dinner is sitting on the kitchen counter. After John doesn’t see Jenny on the first floor of the house, he then walks upstairs and notices that the bathroom door in his room is closed.
When he opens the door, the scene John walks into is inconceivable. Jenny is lying face down, covered in blood. Nearly 30 years later, the case is still unsolved, and the Lin family and investigators struggle to make sense of why Jenny was targeted.
If you have any information about her case, please contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office at 510-667-3636.
For more information about the Jenny Lin foundation, visit https://jennylinfoundation.org/
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Collins-Sears, Abby. “Castro Valley Students Honor Slain Student at Graduation.” Oakland Tribune, 17 June 1994. Newspapers.com.
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“Jenny Lin - Queen of Hearts, California, Part 1.” The Deck, Audiochuck, 15 Sept. 2022, https://thedeckpodcast.com/jenny-lin-part-1/.
“Jenny Lin - Queen of Hearts, California, Part 2.” The Deck, Audiochuck, 15 Sept. 2022, https://thedeckpodcast.com/jenny-lin-part-2/.
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Locke, Michelle. “Who Killed Jenny Lin? Family Continues to Seek Answers.” Record Searchlight, 28 Sept. 1994. Newspapers.com.
“Man Sought for Accosting Slain Girl's Dad.” The San Francisco Examiner, 11 Aug. 1994. Newspapers.com.
Martinez, Don. “Girl's Killer May Have Been a Rapist.” The San Francisco Examiner, 15 June 1994. Newspapers.com.
“New Technology May Lead to Breakthrough in 1994 Murder of Castro Valley Teen Jenny Lin, Sheriff Says.” ABC7 San Francisco, 20 June 2022, https://abc7news.com/jenny-lin-cold-case-castro-valley-teen-murder-1994-dna-evidence/11972107/.
“Police Name Suspect in Jenny Lin Murder Investigation.” East Bay Times, East Bay Times, 17 Aug. 2016, https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2006/05/25/police-name-suspect-in-jenny-lin-murder-investigation/.
Schevitz Wills, Tanya. “Slain Teenager's Dad Recalls an Odd Threat.” The San Francisco Examiner, 1 June 1994. Newspapers.com.
Sheriff, Alameda County. Twitter, Twitter, 7 Oct. 2021, https://twitter.com/ACSOSheriffs/status/1445965154856812550.
“Stabbing: Few Clues, No Suspects so Far.” Oakland Tribune, 29 May 1994. Newspapers.com.
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“Their Sister's Murder Was Used to Justify Tough on Crime Laws. Now They Want to Build Her a Different Legacy.” ELLE, 25 Feb. 2022, https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a39125833/polly-klaas-sisters-a-new-legacy-podcast-criminal-justice-reform/.