Overview of 1983 Wetzel County Jane Doe
An elderly couple spotted what they believed to be an unclothed body or mannequin lying face down in the snow over a hill near US Route 250 at around noon on Sunday, February 13, 1983. This area was a known location for illegal trash disposal.
The woman had been dead for two to three days but the body was dumped only a few hours before being found. Snow had fallen over the three previous days but there was no snow on top of the body. There were fresh tracks and footprints near the body.
After subjecting possible witnesses to forensic hypnosis, West Virginia State Police troopers began looking for a white male in his 40s in connection with the case. He described the man as "stocky," weighing between 185 and 200 pounds and standing about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He may have driven a 1978 to 1980 Chevrolet two-toned brown pickup truck, possibly with a lighter-colored camper top. The man was apparently spotted in the area where her body was found. There is an additional suspect in the case who is already incarcerated for life without parole, yet police cannot prosecute him until the victim is identified.
Investigators hoped that the recently fitted denture worn by the woman could lead to her identity and searched records in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They were unsuccessful with finding a suitable match. After this case, identification numbers were added to future models of dentures.
There was also a possibility that this particular victim could have worked as a prostitute in the Pittsburg area as the scope of the investigation widened. A local investigator also believes the woman could have had ties to the Hare Krishna commune in Marshal County, WV known as New Vrindaban.
There appeared to be no evidence of a struggle or of sexual assault or signs of violence at the scene of on the body. An autopsy did not reveal any problems with the victim's brain, liver, kidneys, heart or lungs. Police presumed the case to be a homicide, based on the circumstances of the discovery of the body. Strangulation was excluded as a cause of death due to the lack of ligature marks or bruising on the neck. Suffocation, which is determined through a process of elimination, however, could not be excluded.
The unidentified woman was given a funeral and buried in the family plot of a couple who "adopted" her.
Some have speculated that this woman could have been a victim of an unidentified serial killer in a span of killings known as the "Redhead Murders" that began as early as 1978. Some local investigators, however, have disagreed with this theory.
Estimated Date of Death: 2 - 3 days prior
State of Remains: Recognizable face
Cause of Death: Undetermined. Possibly suffocation.
Dentals: Available. Immediate type upper denture likely fitted within eight weeks prior to death. Teeth #17, #18 and #32 of the lower mandible are missing. Tooth #19 Buccal pit amalgam and occlusal amalgam. Tooth #30 MO amalgam and large Buccal amalgam pit. Tooth #31 occlusal amalgam, slight mobility.
Fingerprints: Not available
DNA: Available(sources differ).
Additional Personal Items: None
The Doe Network Case Number: 56UFWV