“Jane Doe” found dead in 1981 may be from Massachusetts

Pollen testing indicates homicide victim is from a northeastern state

jane doe composite
Facial reconstruction images show what the victim looked like in life. Images courtesy: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

TROY, Ohio (WWLP) – A recent testing of pollen could shed some light on a 35 year-old murder mystery out of the Midwest. Investigators now believe the victim of that homicide may be from Massachusetts or a nearby state.

The body of a young woman- believed to be in her late teens or early 20s- was found in a ditch just west of Troy, Ohio on April 24, 1981. Police have never been able to identify this “Jane Doe,” so earlier this year, the Miami County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to test some of the pollen on the woman’s clothes- hoping to get some insight on where she may be from, and where she had been.

According to a sheriff’s department news release sent to 22News, the lab results suggested that the victim had either come from, or spent a significant amount of time in the dry oak forest region of the Northeast- an area that includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Jacket worn by "Jane Doe" - Image Courtesy: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Jacket worn by “Jane Doe” – Image Courtesy: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Other pollen samples on her clothes indicated that she had spent time either in the western states or in northern Mexico shortly before she died. Soot on her clothes also suggested that she may either have been spending a lot of time hitchhiking, or in an urban area.

The sheriff’s department says that they will continue to conduct testing to help them narrow down where the woman had come from.

The “Jane Doe” is believed to be white and was about 5’6” tall and weighed about 125 pounds. She had long reddish-brown hair, which was styled in two braids at the time her body was discovered. She had freckles and a ruddy complexion, as well as several scars- one underneath her chin, one on her left arm, two on her left wrist, right hand, right ankle, and right foot. She also had a porcelain-metal crown in her top right central incisor.

She is believed to only have been deceased about two days at the time her body was discovered. She had been wearing bell-bottom jeans, a brown turtleneck sweater with an orange crisscross design, and a tan buckskin pullover jacket with leather fringe around the seams and a deep purple lining.

If you have any idea who she might be, you are urged to call Detective Steve Hickey at the Miami County Sheriff’s Office at (937) 440-3965 extension 6629, or the Miami County Communications Center at (937) 440-9911.

Comments are closed.