At approximately 12:00pm on December 21, 1988, a timber truck driver pulled over along the side of the road in Millwood, Ware County, Georgia to relieve himself in a nearby wooded area. As he walked into the woods, he came across an isolated garbage dump site, where he became curious over an old television cabinet lying on the ground nearby.
As he approached the cabinet, he kicked it, which caused it to break open and reveal its contents: a black metal suitcase. The suitcase had been wrapped in duct tape and placed within a plastic sheet, and within it was a sight the truck driver would never forget. Someone had filled the suitcase with cement, which encased a gym bag and brown baby blanket, which themselves hid the body of a young female child.
The exact area where the child’s remains were located is off Georgia State Route 82, near Duncan Bridge Road and Forks Road.
Jane Doe’s remains were brought in for examination, where it was estimated she had died approximately one to two months prior to her discovery. This estimate was based on the level of decomposition of the remains.
The autopsy suggested that she had been healthy at the time of her death, and no signs of abuse were noted. Due to the state of the remains, a cause of death could not be determined, but there were no signs that she’d been shot or stabbed. It’s unknown if she was alive when placed in the suitcase.
The investigator in the case worked alongside the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other members of the sheriff’s office to help find out Jane Doe’s identity, going door-to-door in the area near where she was found.
It was suspected by those investigating the case that she may not have been from the local area, as a copy of the Albany Herald newspaper was located near the body. This resulted in a thorough search across the United States for a missing child who met her description, as well as the sheriff’s office reaching out to neighbouring law enforcement agencies for potential leads. News stories about the case were also broadcast across the country.
In 2009, a potential link to Albany, New York was uncovered, with some believing she could have lived in the area before her death. Authorities in Georgia worked with a local television station in the city to put together a news story to broadcast to the public, but their efforts did not result in any new leads being called in.
In 2010, an anonymous caller left a tip for investigators, informing them that her name could have been Bridget and that her family may have once lived in Tifton, Georgia. However, not much more has been released regarding this.
Jane Doe is described as having been an African American child between the ages of 3 and 4. She stood from anywhere 2’8″ to 3’1″ and is believed to have weighed approximately 23 to 27 pounds. Her black, curly hair was tied back into a ponytail with a brown rubber band and it had brightly-coloured bows in it. Due to the level of decomposition, her eye colour is currently unknown. She is said to have had slight gaps between some of her baby teeth.
When found, Jane Doe was wearing white thermal pyjama pants with maroon-coloured trim, a disposable diaper and a white, knit pullover with a red pony image in the upper left side of the chest. While her ears were pierced, no earrings were found with her remains.
As aforementioned, police have looked into the idea that she may have been brought to the Millwood area from a nearby town or from somewhere out of state, with the current belief being that she’s not originally from Georgia.
1) Kimberly Janis Boyd, who went missing from Orangeburg County, South Carolina on April 3, 1987.
2) Bonita Karen Sanders, who went missing from Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 14, 1986.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Jane Doe’s DNA is currently available for comparison.
Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the Ware County Sheriff’s Office at either 912-287-2479, 912-287-4326 or 912-287-4327. Tips can also be called into the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 912-389-4103 or 404-244-2600 and the Ware County Coroner’s Office at 912-283-3030.
Image Credit: NCMEC/Marla Lawson