Case Update: Yonkers Jane Doe Identified

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December 12, 2021:

More information has been released regarding the work that went into identifying Meresa Hammonds as the Yonkers Jane Doe.

The identification was made through the use of genetic genealogy. Following its use in closing other unsolved crimes, investigators contacted the FBI and had their Jane Doe’s DNA put into private genealogy websites. After three weeks, they got a match – one of Meresa’s cousins had submitted their DNA to one of the websites.

Investigators then travelled to Michigan in November 2021 to meet with Meresa’s sister and two bothers. They provided DNA samples, and identified their deceased loved one from a photo and by the butterfly tattoo on the back of her right shoulder.

The final DNA test that solidified the identification came from Meresa’s now-adult son, Jason Di Tripani, who, until recently, never knew what happened to his mother or why she never came looking for him.

December 7, 2021:

Carl Koppelman, known for his reconstructions of John and Jane Does, has announced the identity of an unidentified female found deceased in a Yonkers, New York alley on June 27, 1992.

Known as the “Yonkers Jane Doe“, the deceased has been identified as 31-year-old Meresa Hammonds of New Jersey. Details surrounding the identification have yet to be announced. However, some information about her life has been shared on Carl’s Facebook page.

One of seven children, Meresa was born in Kentucky in April 1961. She spent the majority of her childhood in California, before relocating to Michigan when she was older. She eventually moved to New Jersey, where she and her sister worked as models.

At the time of her death, she was the mother of two sons.

Meresa is one of five victims of serial killer Robert Shulman, who confessed to her murder following his arrest on April 6, 1996. According to Shulman, he brought her back to his apartment, where they used crack cocaine. He then blacked out. He claimed that once he came to, Meresa was dead. He then proceeded to dismember her body before transporting her to the alley where she was discovered.

Shulman was sentenced to death in relation to another murder, but his sentence was changed to life without parole after New York overturned the death penalty in 2004. On April 13, 2006, he passed away of natural causes in prison.

Stories of the Unsolved will update this post as more details emerge.

Image Credit: Carl Koppelman

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