Jenkins County Jane Doe

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DISCOVERY:

On February 12, 1988, two children were in the area around Kaiser Road and Old Perkins Road in Millen, Jenkins County, Georgia when they noticed a brown vehicle parked by some nearby dumpsters. According to the two, within the vehicle were two middle-aged individuals, one of which was crying out for “my baby”. Both would later be observed by the children throwing something into one of the dumpsters.

Two days later, between 3:00pm and 4:00pm on February 14, a man was looking for discarded cans in the same area when he discovered a duffle-bag within one of the dumpsters. When he used his pocket knife to open it, he saw the body of a deceased female, wrapped in plastic trash bags and duct tape. He returned to the car, in which his girlfriend was seated, and drove to pick up a friend, who would confirm his findings. It was at this point that he contact the Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office.

The man recalls seeing a “small, brown vehicle”, similar to the one the children observed, at the scene. It had left the area upon their arrival.

AUTOPSY:

Upon the police being called, the dumpster was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation office in Atlanta, where its contents could be more closely examined. The body itself would be first transported to a local funeral home before being brought to the GBI lab to be autopsied.

The remains had already begun to decompose by the time Jane Doe’s body was discovered, and they showed no obvious signs that would lead to a cause of death. It’s presumed she died of asphyxiation. There were no obvious signs of trauma to her body, no drugs in her system, and no biological evidence was present to indicate she had been sexually assaulted.

Her feet had been tied together before her body was placed in the dumpster.

INVESTIGATION:

The dumpster in which Jane Doe was found was known to be used by locals, but was out of sight to pedestrians. This told investigators that whoever disposed of the body was either a local resident or someone who was familiar with the area. It was also learnt that the dumpster had been emptied the previous Friday, meaning she had to have been placed within it on or after February 12, 1988, around the time the children recall seeing the couple in the brown vehicle.

At least one person had noticed the scent of decomposition in the area, but no one alerted the authorities.

Some tips were called in to report individuals who resembled the initial sketch that was released on Jane Doe. However, they lacked specifics and were based around a rendering that has since been said to not closely resemble what the deceased looked like.

One man, who was thought to have murdered his children for insurance reasons, reportedly had a girlfriend who was of Asian heritage. This woman disappeared around the time the children died. While tipsters noted a resemblance to both the sketch and the bedding found, investigators were unable to connect the two cases.

It’s alleged that Johnny Young confessed to murdering Jane Doe. At the time, he was a 23-year-old man who had recently arrived from Orlando and was living in the Millen area. A tip came in on February 17, 1988, which suggested his involvement, but when he was brought in for interrogation, he denied responsibility.

According to Young’s uncle, he’d been involved in drug trafficking. A local woman had informed him that one of his accomplices knew a woman from Puerto Rico, who later left with Young after some money was stolen. This led Young’s uncle to presume Jane Doe was the woman last seen with his nephew. However, when investigators met with the woman from which the statement had came, she denied having said anything about Young’s illicit activities.

In 1991, a man suspected to be Young contacted police, claiming responsibility for Jane Doe’s murder. He was located in New Jersey, and once found denied the confession and instead implicated his uncle. It’s been noted that a relative, who had picked Young up after he returned to Georgia from Orlando, had bedroom carpeting similar to the fibre found on the tape used to bind Jane Doe.

Johnny Young has since passed away.

There are other theories that connect the case to suspected serial killers. Due to circumstances, Larry DeWayne Hall, the Happy Face Killer, Keith Hunter Jesperson and Samuel Little are believed to have possibly been responsible for Jane Doe’s murder.

Many believe there are similarities between Jane Doe’s murder and the 1989 murder of Jean Marie “Annie” Tahan. Jean, who was from Maine, had been killed by her then-boyfriend, who was later convicted of the crime. Her remains were found inside a burning duffle-bag in Jaspar County, South Carolina.

DETAILS:

Jane Doe’s ethnicity is currently unknown, but it’s believed she was likely Asian or White with Asian admixture. There had initially been some speculation that she may have been Hispanic or Native American, but later examination indicated she was of East Asian descent, with the possibility of her having Hispanic heritage. While her original age estimate was between 20 to 30 years old, that has since been refined to between the ages of 16 and 25. She stood between 5’4″ and 5’6″, and had a slim build, weighing 135 to 145 pounds.

She had thick, dark brown-to-black hair that is described as having been long, coarse and straight. While her eye colour is unknown, it’s believed they could have possibly been brown. She was not wearing any clothing or jewelry when found, and it’s been noted that she appeared to have been healthy and that her legs had been shaved sometime before she was killed.

Jane Doe’s teeth were in fairly good condition. Her upper teeth were crooked, which is believed to have been a characteristic present in Asian and Native people, known as “winging”. She’d had one of her lower molars extracted not long before her death, although the socket was healed. It’s believed that, since the tooth had been removed, instead of restored or replaced, she possibly had less access to disposable income.

Numerous items were found with Jane Doe’s body. The nylon duffle-bag she was found within was tan in colour and had steel wheels, and is said to have a distinctive zipper pattern. An “ornate”, light green pillow with a flower design and a matching maroon bedspread were also found. Both items had a “rosette swirl” design on them, which was made of satin and indicates that the pillow, in particular, was possibly used as decoration, as opposed for sleeping.  The bedspread appeared to have come from a household and not a hotel, likely a home with a female teenager or young adult, and it’s believed that it may have originated from an employer or group Jane Doe associated with. There’s also the possibility that the sheets may have come from a massage parlour, as many employees at these businesses are undocumented and forced to provide these services to customers, who are usually long-haul truck drivers. Due to the belief the bedding could have originated from a massage parlour, it’s thought she could have been a victim of human trafficking, as victims of this nature in Georgia are often Chinese.

Hoping to catch a break, one of the investigators attempted to trace the manufacturer of the bedding to North or South Korea, but it’s not known what the result of this was.

Other items found with her include sheets that did not feature any embroidery, a light blue towel with butterfly embroidery and a gas canister. However, the canister may not be related to the case.

Jane Doe’s remains were cremated before DNA could be obtained from them. In 1998, evidence in the case was re-examined, and a brownish-gold carpet fibre was found on the tape that had been around her body. Evidence in the case has been sent to the GBI’s regional office to be retested, and requests have been made to obtain records that are currently in storage. There is the possibility that the remains, despite being cremated, could reveal new information about her age and ethnicity, if, by chance, bone fragments still exist. As of 2018, the exhumation evidence was under analysis.

Investigators believe she wasn’t from the area. There is a strong possibility that she was a foreign national who entered the United States without any documentation, this because Atlanta is known as a “port” city, where some immigrants arrive. In 1988, there were two groups of mostly-Hispanic migrants who passed through the area. While one didn’t report any absences, the other is said to have registered to camp at Millen’s national forest. There’s no word on if anyone from this group disappeared or was reported missing.

RULE OUTS:

1) Kristina “Krissi” Joanne Porco, who went missing from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on November 29, 1986.

CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:

Jane Doe’s dentals and fingerprints are available for comparison.

Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 912-871-1121. Tips can also be called into the Jenkins County Sheriff’s Office at 912-982-4211 or the Jenkins County Coroner’s Office at 912-982-4221.

Image Credit: NCMEC/GBI

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