On September 15, 2000, high school couple Jennifer and Nathan Leach were rollerblading in New Brighton, Minnesota’s Long Lake Regional Park when they came across a shoe that was still tightly tied. Curious as to why its owner wasn’t around, the pair began walking along a nearby deer path, toward a swampy area near Lake Rush.
At the end of the path, caught in cattails, they saw the mummified remains of a female.
The authorities were called and the decedent’s remains brought in for examination. The medical examiner determined she’d perished between 45 days and six months prior, with there a slight possibility she could have been dead for up to five years.
Due to the level of decomposition, the exact cause of death couldn’t be determined. However, “sharp force injuries consistent with stab wounds” were found on her body, leading investigators to deem Jane Doe’s passing a homicide.
Jane Doe is described as a 25-to-50-year-old White female with possible Native American ancestry. She stood between 5’4″ and 5’6″, and had medium-to-long brown-to-strawberry blonde hair. Due to the state of the remains, eye colour and weight couldn’t be determined.
An examination of the decedent’s teeth showed signs of extensive dental work. She’d had three root canals, and all four of her wisdom teeth were removed. She was also missing her upper left tooth, which detectives believe would have been noticeable when she smiled.
Jane Doe had osteoarthritis of her hips and back, and a healed fracture to her right middle finger. It was later determined that the shoe Nathan and Jennifer had found wasn’t related to the case. No clothes were found on or near the victim.
Very little has been shared publicly regarding the investigation into Jane Doe’s murder. However, authorities have shared that they’ve followed up on a number of leads over the decades and compared the decedent’s DNA and physical features to around 350 missing women.
Despite this, no matches have been made.
- Lauren Gail Andersen, who went missing from St. Louis Park, Minnesota on November 15, 1982.
- Carla Beth Anderson, who went missing from Wadena, Minnesota on November 13, 1987.
- Linda Jean Anger, who went missing from Rochester, Minnesota on May 7, 1993.
- Mindy Lou Arnett, who went missing from St. Ignace, Michigan on August 14, 2002.
- Tamara Colleen Bradley, who went missing from Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 30, 1994.
- Tammie Jane Briley, who went missing from Battle Creek, Michigan on August 31, 2000.
- Laurie Ann Feiner, who went missing from St. Paul, Minnesota on May 9, 1992.
- Roseanna Marie Forcum, who went missing from St. Cloud, Minnesota on August 14, 1998.
- Denise Ordene Fraley, who went missing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 12, 1982.
- Jodi Sue Huisentruit, who went missing from Mason City, Iowa on June 27, 1995.
- Deanna Marie Joy, who went missing from Maplewood, Minnesota on July 1, 1994.
- Cindy Carol Larson, who went missing from Caledonia, Minnesota on November 26, 1995.
- Penny Dawn Lease, who went missing from Urbana-Champaign, Illinois on June 2, 1989.
- Mary Kay McMillan, who went missing from Columbia Heights, Minnesota on December 28, 2000.
- Dawn M. Mohn, who went missing from Green Bay, Wisconsin on August 21, 2000.
- Nhi T. Nguyễn, who went missing from Port Angeles, Washington on May 1, 1985.
- Victoria Jane Owczynsky, who went missing from Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 26, 1990.
- Amy Sue Pagnac, who went missing from Osseo, Minnesota on August 5, 1989.
- Cynthia Mae Schmidt, who went missing from St. Cloud, Minnesota on August 16, 1986.
- Patricia Ann Schmidt, who went missing from Richmond, Virginia on June 4, 1985.
- Vicki Arleen Sundgaard, who went missing from Alexandria, Minnesota on April 19, 1987.
- Susan Anne Swedell, who went missing from Lake Elmo, Minnesota on January 19, 1988.
- Nancy Kay Tharp, who went missing from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on August 20, 1977.
- Virginia Mary Tobkin, who went missing from Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 1, 1984.
- Belinda Kay VanLith, who went missing from Wright County, Minnesota on June 15, 1974.
- Amber Lynn Wilde, who went missing from Green Bay, Wisconsin on September 23, 1998.
- Christine Lorraine Brock, who went missing from Warren, Ohio on August 10, 2000.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
New Brighton Jane Doe’s dentals and DNA are currently available for comparison.
Those with information regarding the decedent’s identity and/or murder are asked to contact the New Brighton Department of Public Safety at either (651) 288-4168, (651) 767-0640 or (651) 288-4100. Tips can also be called into the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office at (651) 266-1700.
Image Credit: New Brighton Government Website/The Doe Network