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On January 4, 2015, three birdwatchers were at Calvert Vaux Park, in the Gravesend area of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York when they came across a decomposed right hand lying face up in the sand along the shoreline of Coney Island Creek. At first glance, it appeared to have been in the water for a significant period of time.

A day later, the authorities scoured the area in which the hand was found and located a foot nearby, which appeared to have been smoothly cut about the ankle and looked to have also been in the water for a long time.

It would be nearly three months before other body parts were located, scattered throughout the park. On March 22, three teenagers had entered a wooded area near the shoreline of the creek in order to relieve themselves. Approximately 1,000 yards from where the hand and foot were initially found, they saw a skeletal ribcage and spine, leading them to call the police.

At around 6:28pm that evening, a second official search of the park resulted in the discovery of a disembodied leg on the ground and an elbow hanging from a tree, approximately 40 yards away. The location was close to the intersection of Bay 46 Street and Shore Parkway.


Upon the remains being brought in for examination, it was determined that all parts belonged to the same person, an unidentified female. Given the state of decomposition, it was determined that she’d likely died sometime in 2014 as a result of a homicide, given the traumatic nature of her injuries.

While investigators know very little regarding what happened to her, they have theorized that she was killed elsewhere and her body disposed of in the water. Upon her remains washing ashore, they were likely dragged to their various locations by animals.


Jane Doe is described as having been an African American female between the ages of 20 and 45. She likely stood between 5’3″ and 5’9″, but given the state of her remains, her weight has not been determined. Through the use of DNA phenotyping, investigators have learnt she likely had black hair and brown eyes, and it’s believed she had a rounded nose.

Luckily for investigators, Jane Doe had a tattoo on her right calf, which they hope to use to identify her. While faded, they were able to determine the red and green-coloured piece featured a heart with a rose, with the name “Monique” in script along the middle. They are currently unsure if the name is hers or of someone close to her.

Other details include the fact she’d suffered a broken rib at some point during her life, and that she had a mesh artery stent within the tissue of her pelvis and an intrauterine device. The stent is seen as evidence that she’d had a prior surgery.

Given investigators had not recovered Jane Doe’s skull, they turned to Parabon NanoLabs to help create a facial approximation of what she looked like, this done through DNA phenotyping. While it was initially believed she’d been White, tests indicated she was actually of Sub-Saharan African descent. Other tests also suggested she may have lived in the western United States, either in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; or Portland, Oregon, or closer to the Canadian border, in upstate New York or in the northern New England region.


1) Darlene Butts, who went missing from San Bernardino, California in 2014/2015. She has since been located.

2) Shawntell Monique Waites, who went missing from Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 15, 2006.

3) Stevie Danielle Bates, who went missing from Manhattan, New York on April 28, 2012.


While Jane Doe’s DNA is available for comparison, it’s unknown if her fingerprints were able to be taken from the dismembered hand.

Those with information regarding the identity of Jane Doe are asked to contact the New York City Police Department at 718-946-3311 or the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at 212-447-2030. Those wishing to remain anonymous can do so by calling New York Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477.

Image Credit: The Doe Network

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