Jody Lynn Wolfe: Swamp Murders Unearths Fresno Cold Case Of Death Row Inmate Eddie Ricky Nealy

Jody Lynn Wolfe disappeared and was later found dead in Dry Creek Canal in Fresno, California, three decades ago. Now, her case has made its way to Swamp Murders on the Investigation Discovery show. This season, Swamp Murders is bringing you some compelling cases, including true-crime stories which have not been covered in other documentaries. The Jody Lynn Wolfe case is an example of a rare story that received little exposure when the body was found. The Swamp Murders episode airing tonight is titled “Down The Canal.”

Nude Body In The Canal

According to ABC-7, 14-year-old Jody Lynn Wolfe’s body was found floating in the Dry Creek Canal of Fresno, California, in August 1985. When police arrived at the scene, they found the white female lying face up and nude. She was wearing only a pair of socks. Nearby, her blue jeans, shoes, and a shirt were found. Detectives also found an ax and a footprint at the crime scene.

It appeared that Jody Lynn Wolfe had been raped, a notion that was finally confirmed by the coroner. The autopsy report also stated that she had been badly beaten about the head with a blunt object. Her skull was severely damaged, and there were no signs of a struggle, making one wonder if Jody Lynn Wolfe had been struck by surprise.

Fresno County investigators say that Jody Lynn Wolfe was a runaway from a broken home. She was most likely killed a week after leaving. Her mother was said to be receiving drug rehab at the time of her daughter’s death.

Baffled detectives were not successful in finding the killer of Jody Lynn Wolfe in 1985. However, evidence preserved from the dead girl’s body proved to be beneficial more than two decades later.

Cold Case Cracked After Two Decades

In 2007, the cold case squad took another look at the case and sent DNA evidence extracted from the victim to the lab, where it matched a dangerous predator named Eddie Ricky Nealy. Authorities say that Eddie Ricky Nealy was a vicious criminal who also killed another woman. The victim in that case was 28-year-old Mary Charlotte Barnett, who was found dead in a field. Nealy also raped several women.

For the murder of Jody Lynn Wolfe, Eddie Ricky Nealy was sentenced to death, California court records show. His defense attorney, Eric Green, disagreed with the sentence, according to a report by ABC-30.

“I think Eddie was hoping for death because it gives him a cell by himself. It doesn’t expose him to general pop(ulation) where he’s exposed to the rest of the people in the prison. Our focus now is to attack by way of appeal the guilt part of this trial because I still can’t wrap my head around how you can convict a guy of murder and rape when there’s no physical evidence of either. “

Dating back to the 1930s, several tragedies have happened along Dry Creek Canal.

  • Over the years, many drownings have occurred there.
  • In the 1970s, four Fresno teens were found murdered. The crimes were not solved until Ray Dell Sims was arrested in 2001. It is believed that at least one of his victims ended up in Dry Creek Canal or another canal in Fresno.
  • The Dry Creek Canal was once the site of a deadly car accident, where a Hispanic man’s car flipped and ended up in water.
  • In 1992, one angry mother lashed out against officials for not finding her son’s body fast enough. The boy, Dejon Reynolds, died from drowning after he fell into the creek. His mother said that her son was playing with a group of children that day and wondered if he had been pushed into the water, instead.
  • In 1996, a dead prostitute named Denise Samuel was found floating in Dry Creek Canal.

Watch the story of Jody Lynn Wolfe and Eddie Ricky Nealy tonight on Swamp Murders at 9/8 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. In previous weeks, Swamp Murders aired the cases of Mary Stetson and Misty Morse.

Last week’s episode

[Photo by Rogelio V. Solis/AP File]