Overview of October 8, 1976 Benton County Jane Doe
Who is the Box Lady of Benton County?
On October 8, 1976, a farmer discovered an unidentified woman in his cornfield. The unidentified woman, known as Benton County Jane Doe, was inside a cardboard box that was sitting at the end of a row of the farmer's cornfield, located approximately 15 yards away from Country Road 200, which is 6 miles north of Otterbein. Upon discovery, the box was too heavy for the farmer to lift, so he had his father help lift the box out of the mud and into the bed of his truck.
The farmer opened the box, found a broken vial of perfume, and smelled a foul odor from within the box, which prompted them to contact the Benton County Sheriff's Office and Indiana State Police.
Inside the box, was a body of a woman who had been shot in the back of the head. She was fully clothed, wearing a green pantsuit with a tan print. She had been put into a 3-by-2-by-1-feet box. The box was sealed with gray tape, clothesline, and had the words "wardrobe bottom" and "Hall closet" handwritten on the exterior of the box.
Law enforcement was able to determine that the box, was manufactured sometime between May and October 1976 by a company located in Melrose Park, Illinois. These specific boxes were circulated throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, typically by moving vans.
Authorities believe that the body had been left in a cornfield for approximately 12 hours before it was discovered because it had rained earlier that day, but the box was not wet. There was a circle of black dirt surrounding the box. Strangely, there was no evidence of a path leading to the location where the box was found, suggesting the possibility that a helicopter may have brought the box to the cornfield. An autopsy was conducted and revealed that she was likely deceased for 1-1/2 weeks before her body was discarded.
Where the case stands today
In 2019, with the help of Benton County Coroner, Matt Rosenbarger and a team of forensic experts from the Human Identification Center at the University of Indianapolis, the body of Benton County Jane Doe was exhumed. The hope is to identify her through DNA and then try to learn about her death.
On February 6, 2022, Benton County Jane Doe received an updated reconstruction image in hopes that someone can recognize her. Previously, a hand-drawn sketch was used in any local media.
DNA: Dentals & Fingerprints Available Clothing: Green slacks, green and white checkered blouse. Distinguishing Marks: Upturned nose with a bump beneath the bridge. Large ears. Calloused hands. Radical mastectomy on her right side.