After 45 years, Jane Seneca Doe is still a mystery – NBC Chicago
Each year at this time, Brandon Johnson, Deputy Sheriff of Grundy County, drives to a site near Seneca on U.S. Highway 6, and leaves a bouquet of flowers, along with a layered photograph of him. a woman he has never met.
In fact, a woman whose name he did not know.
“Our job is to remember her,” he said. “Until she gets her name back.”
In official records, she is known as Jane Seneca Doe. On October 2, 1976, her body was found by the roadside without identification. She is believed to be between 15 and 27 years old, and she was shot once in the head.
“We’ve learned a lot since exhuming her body,” Johnson told NBC 5. “But we still have a lot of ways to go.”
Trouble with the story, one of the most puzzling of all cold cases in Illinois, Johnson arranged to exhume the woman’s body in the winter of 2018. He managed to retrieve one. DNA sample and send it to the DNA Doe project, an organization based in California. which scours genealogical and ancestral databases, hoping to match unknown past victims with their living relatives. And that effort has yielded some clues.
“Our deceased was most likely from Selma, Alabama,” he said. “But some of those branches have moved to other states.”
Investigators have yet to determine the woman’s real name. They believe that Calhoun and Harris’ names are prominent in her genealogy, possibly with her grandparents or great-grandfather. Branches of the family are said to have moved to Cincinnati and Detroit.
But there’s no clue who she is, or where she really comes from. Or why she’s in Illinois.
Or who killed her.
After all, it’s hard to find a killer, when you don’t know your victim’s name. Especially after 45 years.
“I hope that maybe one day there might be a criminal case,” Johnson said. “But at this point, I’m more geared towards determining her identity.”
Johnson said potential relatives have been found in other states, but some have balked at providing DNA samples.
“At this point, I don’t know if they question the legitimacy of this, or if they’re spooked,” he said.
But his investigation continued in earnest. A crime has been committed here. But there was also a young woman buried in an unmarked grave.
“Without your name, without anyone asking about you — she’s someone to someone,” Johnson said. “A friend, a cousin, maybe a sister. It’s not recommended.”
For now, he agrees that the DNA investigation needs only a good shot, someone who knows Jane Doe of Grundy County. Someone is missing her.
But in the meantime, Johnson makes sure she won’t be forgotten.
“Most people have their names when they die and in this case, this woman didn’t,” he said. “And that’s sad.”
https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/after-45-years-jane-seneca-doe-remains-a-mystery/2626755/ After 45 years, Jane Seneca Doe is still a mystery – NBC Chicago