List of unidentified murder victims in Michigan

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In Michigan, there are a number of murder victims, in the category of unidentified decedents, whose identities have yet to be determined.

Chippewa County John Doe[edit]

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On November 13, 1966, the decomposed body of a male was found in the Hiawatha National Forest in Trout Lake, Chippewa County, Michigan. The man's exact cause of death has not been released, but the nature was determined to have been murder. The victim was aged between nineteen and twenty-five, although he may have been up to thirty years old when he died. He was approximately 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall at a weight of 150 pounds (68 kg). His hair was around four inches (10 cm) long and was brown with a reddish tint. He was dressed in a tan shirt with jeans and had both American and Canadian currency in his shirt pocket, leading officers to believe he was of Canadian nationality. Additionally, he was found near the border of the Canadian province of Ontario. A gold and chrome-colored lighter and a set of five Canadian-style keys on a key ring, with the number "330" etched in it, were also found with the remains. The man's belongings and clothing no longer exist, as they were destroyed.[1] He is believed to have died approximately six months before his discovery.[2]

Wayne County Jane Doe (1987)[edit]

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On February 10, 1987, the body of a young woman, aged 16 to 25 was located in a dump in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. The victim was deceased less than two days and had been stabbed to death.[3] She was approximately 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall and weighed around 114 pounds (52 kg). The victim had given birth eight weeks to one year prior and she was lactating.[4] A scar from an episiotomy was also found on her body. Her hair was brown with red and blond highlights and was styled with a long nape with various layers. She was slender, but had an athletic build and an O blood type. Her nails were painted with pink polish and she had brown or hazel eyes. A worn black bikini bottom was the only clothing she wore. Two rings were found on her left hand, one on her index finger and one on her ring finger, indicating she may have been married. She also had pierced ears.[5] Along with some other unidentified decedents from Detroit, the victim was exhumed in 2014 for additional examination.[6]

Berrien County Jane Doe[edit]

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3D reconstruction

The remains of a woman were found on August 23, 1992 in New Buffalo, Berrien County, Michigan. The victim was nude and between the ages of 65 and 75 when she was murdered. The victim was wrapped in a bed sheet, two garbage bags and a towel and left alongside a highway. Her hands were severed to prevent identification through fingerprint examination.[7] The victim was also missing her dentures, as she had no teeth. The body was at the scene for approximately two days, but she was killed four to seven days before. The woman may have been from a nursing home in Illinois or Indiana.[8] She was believed to have been five feet two inches tall at a weight of around 102 pounds.[9]

Highland Park Jane Doe[edit]

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NCMEC reconstruction
Second NCMEC reconstruction

The body of a female between fifteen and twenty-five years old was located in an alley in Highland Park, Wayne County, Michigan on May 20, 1996. The victim's cause of death has not been disclosed, but is considered a homicide.[10] The young woman weighed 191 pounds (87 kg) and was 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) tall. She is presumed to be a mix of white and African-American. Her hair was reddish-brown, curly and tied with a white bow in a ponytail. She wore a distinctive white shirt with yellow smiley faces, a white bra, white socks and black shoes, as well as a teddy-bear shaped wristwatch. Her eyes were brown, like her hair. The victim's teeth had three fillings and untreated decay, although none of them had been removed. She is also believed to have been a tobacco smoker. Other than this, she is believed to have been drug-free. She had O type blood and painted her nails, her fingernails were purple and her toenails were pink. Other distinguishing features included many freckles on her face and a scar under her right knee.[11] The victim also had pelvic inflammatory disease.[12]

"Jack in the Box"[edit]

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In the afternoon of May 8, 2002, the burned body of a white or Hispanic man was discovered in a wooded area of a blueberry field in Grand Haven, Ottawa County, Michigan. The man was killed by blunt force trauma and was then set on fire after being transported to the area. He had extensive dental work, including a partial dental plate, crowns and restorations. However, they had not been performed within a decade before he died. It is believed that he received such care in the southern United States or Mexico. His clothing included a shirt originating from southern California, boxer shorts and a watch. He was 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) to 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m) tall and was fairly healthy when he was alive. His remains were found in a footlocker that was then set on fire. A charred cushion, which was placed below the remains, was also found. Because of the size of the footlocker and the absence of disturbance to the surface of the earth, it is believed that more than one person was involved in disposing the corpse. Because it had rained the morning of the discovery, trace evidence at the scene was no longer available.[13][14][15]

Wayne County Jane Doe (2005)[edit]

Reconstruction of the 2005 Wayne County Jane Doe prior to losing her teeth.
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3D reconstruction

On July 13, 2005, the severely deteriorated body of a 35- to 60-year-old woman was found naked inside an abandoned building in Detroit, Michigan. The woman had extremely poor dentition, possibly due to methamphetamine use.[16] However, the nails on the toes and fingers were well cared for. She had short auburn and grey hair; standing at approximately 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) tall. The skull was reconstructed twice, once with clay and the other by drawing.[17][18][19][20]

Wayne County Jane Doe (2006)[edit]

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3D reconstruction

An African-American woman of slender build, reported to be a prostitute, was discovered around a week after her death on June 5, 2006. She had been strangled and had also suffered trauma to the head.[21] She was between 20 and 30 years of age and had been left in a deserted building. The clothing she wore included a red T-shirt, a blue jacket decorated with flags and Nike shoes. One of her front teeth was missing; the oral care was not well performed. Shelley Brooks, a serial killer, confessed to killing her and six other women and remains incarcerated for the rest of his life.[22][23][24][25]

Wayne County Jane Doe (2009)[edit]

The Jane Doe found in Detroit in 2009

The partially mummified remains of a woman were located in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan on March 26, 2009 in an alley. The woman's cause of death is unknown, but she was found without clothing, which indicates homicide.[26] The victim was between 25 and 45 years old, standing around 4 feet 8 inches (1.42 m) tall. Because of the state of her body, her weight could not be estimated. The Jane Doe was deceased for approximately eight months. Judging by a wad of hair found at the scene, she may have had red or auburn hair when she was alive. Examining the woman's bones suggested that she had borne at least one child and had trauma to her back before she died, which likely caused her pain.[27]


  1. ^ "Case File 948UMMI". The Doe Network. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "NamUs UP # 8378". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. January 12, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Bodies exhumed at Plymouth cemetery by police for DNA testing". Detroit: WJBK-TV. Fox News. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "NamUs UP # 8272". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. December 15, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Jane Doe 1987". National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Craig, Kim (November 10, 2014). "Police and federal investigators dig up bodies hoping DNA will help put names to unsolved deaths". Detroit: WXYZ-TV. ABC News. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Case file #2 Unidentified female 1992". Berrien County Police Department. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  8. ^ "Case File 129UFMI". The Doe Network. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  9. ^ "NamUs UP # 8224". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. December 8, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  10. ^ "Unidentified Remains: Highland Park, MI" (PDF). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  11. ^ "Jane Doe 1996". National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "NamUs UP # 11787". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "Jack in the Box". penULTIMATE, Ltd. 2005. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "Jack In The Box". Delayed Justice. July 26, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  15. ^ "Case File 1288UMMI". The Doe Network. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  16. ^ "Detroit Jane Doe". February 6, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  17. ^ "Identification Sought: 'Jane Doe'" (PDF). Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  18. ^ "MSP Forensic Artist to Release Facial Reconstruction Build upon Skull of Unidentified Remains". January 26, 2006. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "Case Report - NamUs UP # 7702". August 27, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  20. ^ "Case File 410UFMI". The Doe Network. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "Unknown Black Female from Detroit". Michigan State Police. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  22. ^ "Jane Doe" (PDF). Wayne County Police Department. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Wayne Michigan Jane Doe June 2006". Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Case File 73UFMI". The Doe Network. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  25. ^ Kearns, Jeanne (March 8, 2007). "Serial Killer Suspect, Shelly Andre Brooks Convicted in Detroit". Yahoo Voices. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  26. ^ "Detroit, Michigan Jane Doe". March 8, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  27. ^ "NamUs UP # 8175". National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database. Retrieved October 14, 2014.

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