Maria Patrice Jackson was 19 years old when she was murdered. Her body was found outside an apartment building in Boca Raton, Florida, more than 15 years ago, and the person responsible for her death has yet to be brought to justice.
On July 18, 2003, the landlord of a property at 665 East Jeffrey Street called 911 to report a suspicious foul smell emanating from the front area of the building.
Responding officers inspected the area and determined that the odor was coming from a black trash bag that they located between two palm trees.
With help from the Boca Raton Fire Rescue team, officers partially opened the bag and discovered human remains inside, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Due to the body’s state of decomposition, experts were unable to determine its identity, gender, and age until two weeks later.
After DNA testing, Boca Raton police announced on July 31, 2003, that the body found in the trash bag belonged to Jackson, who was reported missing on June 30, 2003.
During their investigation, detectives went to Jackson’s Coral Springs apartment, where they found her green BMW.
They also found no evidence of foul play.
Detectives interviewed dozens of the victim’s family and friends, who were all cooperative except for one of her friends.
Police Capt. Rick Reuter told the Sun-Sentinel in 2003 that they “need to talk to [the friend] because of his relationship with Maria.”
Jackson’s friend “may have been involved in the death of Maria; he may not have been… his history, that concerns us. If he wasn’t involved in her death, he should come forward.”
At the time of Jackson’s disappearance, she had been working as an exotic dancer at the Gold Rush strip club in Miami-Dade County for six months—her stage name was Dynasty.
But even after holding a steady job, it was reported that she was having financial difficulties and had to move out of her apartment.
She was set to move in with her grandmother, but it didn’t go as planned. So she contacted her childhood friend on June 26, 2003, and asked if she could move in with her.
Her friend said yes.
Jackson was supposed to move in sometime before July 1, 2003, but she never showed up.
Detective Mynor Cruz told WSVN 7 News in 2013 that “a lot of people knew pieces of her life as to what she was doing and where she was working.”
“But we didn’t really find anyone that had a pretty good idea of what was going on in her life. I believe her closest friend was probably Stephanie Michaels.”
Michaels, who also spoke with WSVN 7 News, stated that “Maria would just automatically assume that everybody was great people, and no one does wrong, and the crimes, murders, happen in different states.”
Jackson was known to her family and friends as a trustworthy person.
Officials believe she may have trusted someone at the club, and they followed her home.
Detective Cruz said, “Friends wonder every day, ‘Is that the person who killed her? Is that the person? Who is that person?’”
“I don’t want to say I hate that person because God says not to hate,” Michaels said. “I have to walk with God. I have to forgive that person because if I don’t forgive that person, I can’t be forgiven for my sins, but that person needs to pay.”
Boca Raton police officials have yet to divulge Jackson’s exact cause of death, but her death is being investigated as a homicide.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Maria Patrice Jackson is encouraged to contact Detective Cruz at 561-338-1320 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.