On March 18, 1967, the body of an unidentified woman was discovered in Bear, New Castle County, Delaware. The body had been found stuffed inside a white cloth laundry bag off the shoulder of Porter Road, also known as County Road 400, just a few miles from I-90 and US Highway 40.
An autopsy was performed upon the body being brought in for examination, where it was discovered Jane Doe had died a few hours prior to being found. There were no signs of trauma to the body.
While it was initially believed she had died as a result of a botch abortion, as there was a soap-like substance found in her vaginal cavity, it was later concluded her death was due to septicemia.
Investigators looked into over 50 missing persons cases during the initial investigation, but no match to Jane Doe could be found. Instead of trying to find those who had dumped the body, the primary focus was on finding out her identity.
Police concluded Jane Doe had been transported in a vehicle from an unknown location, then dumped on the side of the road. Due to this, they feel she could have been from a different state. This belief was also due to the fact that the laundry bag the body was found in was from a dry cleaner located in New Jersey.
During the investigation, police received an anonymous call from someone who claimed to have transported a body from Washington to Delaware. There is very little information available in regards to this lead, but sources say investigators were skeptical, given it would have taken longer than a few hours to transport the body such a distance.
Police spoke with family members of the laundry company in New Jersey, as the owner had died, and they recalled seeing a young woman matching Jane Doe’s description. They just couldn’t pinpoint if she had been a customer or nearby resident. The dry cleaner operated in a wide portion of Mercer County in New Jersey, including Trenton.
In 2011, the case was re-examined and DNA was extracted from a vial of blood found in evidence. Currently, the investigation is focused on Trenton’s senior population, as it’s believed those involved are either elderly or deceased.
Jane Doe is described as white, and is believed to have been between 16 and 25 years old. She stood at 5’2″ and weighed approximately 110 to 115 pounds.
Her brown hair, which was long and curly, was tied back with a red ribbon, and her eyes were brown. She’s described as being petite and of fair complexion. When found, she was wearing blue bikini-style panties with the manufacturer’s label removed.
Both of Jane Doe’s ears were pierced, but it appeared she hadn’t worn earrings in awhile. She also had a vaccine scar on her left thigh. Her teeth were in good dental repair. She had several restorations and it looked as though she had seen a dentist six months to a year before her death. As well, she had type-O blood and was approximately three months pregnant.
The bag in which Jane Doe’s body had been found in was a large white cloth commercial laundry bag, which bore the markings “Bag O-Storage. American Laundry. Dry Cleaning. EX4 5277” and was traced back to Trenton, New Jersey. The bag was used to transport dirty laundry to the dry cleaner, and was used both privately and commercially.
Ancestry testing suggests she may have been of Jewish, European, Greek or Italian descent. Her DNA was compared to genealogy websites and revealed a maternal connection with relatives in Virginia and North Carolina. However, when contacted, no one could say the identity of Jane Doe.
1) Ida Anderson, who went missing from Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 1958.
2) Audrey Backberg, who went missing from Reedsburg, Wisconsin on July 7, 1962.
3) Linda Britton, who went missing from Cambridge, Ohio on June 11, 1963.
4) Patricia Blough, who went missing from Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana on July 2, 1966.
5) Peggy Byars-Baisden, who went missing from Highland City, Florida on April 2, 1965.
6) Brenda Howell, who went missing from Los Angeles County, California on August 6, 1956.
7) Lynn Luray, who went missing from Long Beach, California on August 17, 1964.
8) Pamela Nater, who went missing from Altoona, Florida on October 2, 1966.
9) Donnis Redman, who went missing from Las Vegas, Nevada on March 1, 1958.
10) Alice Reeves, who went missing from Mamou, Louisiana on May 1, 1968.
11) Mary Ann Switalski, who went missing from Chicago, Illinois on July 15, 1963.
12) Mary Ann Verdecchia, who went missing from Bloomfield, Pennsylvania on June 7, 1962.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Jane Doe’s dental records, fingerprints and DNA are available for comparison.
Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are being asked to contact the Delaware Division of Forensic Science at either 302-407-4633 or 302-577-3420.
Image Credit: The Doe Network/NCMEC