Woodlawn Jane Doe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Woodlawn Jane Doe
Digital image created depict an estimation of the victim in life
Reconstructions of the victim, created in 2016
Born1946 - 1961 (aged 15 - 30) (approximate)
StatusUnidentified for 43 years, 1 month and 3 days
DiedSeptember 11, 1976
Cause of deathHomicide by strangulation
Body discoveredSeptember 12, 1976
Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States
Known forUnidentified decedent
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m) to 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight149 lb (68 kg) to 159 lb (72 kg)

Woodlawn Jane Doe was a young woman who was discovered murdered on September 12, 1976, in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland. The victim has been linked to regions in Massachusetts and New York. Various investigations have been conducted in the case.[1] Recent developments have indicated she was possibly a teenage immigrant from Central or South America who had lived in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, although the family of the individual has yet to be located.[2] In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released the detail that she may have used the names "Jasmine" or "Jassy" when alive.[3]

Despite extensive efforts, her body has never been identified. The murderer, or murderers, have never been apprehended.[4][5]

Discovery of the body[edit]

Morgue and crime scene photographs

On September 12, 1976, at 10:20 a.m., the body of a 15- to 30-year-old woman was found partially wrapped in a white sheet. She had been beaten, strangled, and raped.[6][7] The rape had been severe, as it caused bleeding that had seeped into her clothing.[8] She likely died at a different location and had been transported to the side of Dogwood Road near the back gate of a cemetery.[4][9] It is possible that a Ford Econoline van may be linked to the case, as one was seen near the location of the body an hour before it was found.[6][8]

The victim wore a turquoise-colored stone bead tied to a rawhide string as a necklace. Also in her possession were two brass keys (one believed to be for a house and the other for a "night latch") that were found attached to a safety pin in one of the pockets of a pair of tan-yellow jeans.[5][8] She wore a white and tan shirt, a white bra, and distinctive knee-high socks with multi-colored stripes.[9] A single, light tan moccasin with twine laces and a rubber sole was found near the body; it is believed to have been worn by the victim.[7][10] Other pieces of cloth were also found on the body.

Two bandannas and a bag for grass seeds were found over her face. These had been fastened behind her neck in a square knot.[9] One bandanna was blue and white, and the other was orange and white. The orange-and-white bandanna was found to have holes cut in it to fit the locations of her eyes and nose. Besides the bag over her face, a piece of the grass seed bag was found in her throat. This was determined to have been the cause of her death, along with ligature strangulation.[11] The bag read "Farm Bureau Association Grass Seed, Lexington, Mass."[1][6] Additionally, the hands had been bound behind her back with some sort of "bandage" in noticeably high-quality knots.[9][11]

An extremely large amount of a sedative drug, chlorpromazine, was found in the victim's stomach.[1][8] Chlorpromazine is used to treat schizophrenia, which led to a theory linking the victim, or those responsible for her murder, to a mental institution.[7] Additionally, the sheet that was wrapped around her body was consistent with those provided at inpatient institutions.[8]


Tattoo found on the victim's right shoulder, possibly representing Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Examiners measured the victim and concluded that she weighed between 149 and 159 pounds and was 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 9 inches tall.[8] The blood type of the victim was determined to be O positive.[9] There had been evidence that she had been treated by a dentist. The victim had three of her molars removed and had fillings in the remaining five. Because of the amount and quality of the dental care, authorities surmised that she did not come from a background of poverty.[4] One of her other teeth was crooked.[9]

A poorly tattooed pair of letters, possibly initials, was found on her left arm.[10] It contained two letters, believed to be JP, SS, JB or a similar letter combination.[9] She had her ears pierced and a scar on her upper right thigh.[4][12] A widow's peak was noted on the victim's forehead.[8]

She had dark brown to black, shoulder-length hair with a wavy texture and brown eyes. She had a dark olive complexion.[7][9] The exact race and ethnicity of the victim puzzled investigators and medical examiners, but [12] it is believed that she may have been white.[5]


A reconstruction of Woodlawn Jane Doe.

Shortly after the body was found, fingerprint and dental information were collected to establish its identity.[5] Her fingerprints were added to national databases, as well as her dental chart. Yet no match has ever been made.[4]

Many missing women from across the United States have since been eliminated as possible identities for Woodlawn Jane Doe.[12] The county police department currently offers a cash reward of two thousand dollars for information about this case.[5] A notable case was that of Maria "Mia" Anjiras, a teen that had run away from her Connecticut home in February 1976.[13]

The victim's face has been reconstructed multiple times for release to the public. Three versions exist that were rendered by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.[10] Other of her sketches also exist.[9] The local police department provided an age-regression and an additional reconstruction, created by Eve Grant, hoping to provide an estimation of her appearance at a younger age (in case she was "a runaway" or someone knew her at an earlier period of her life).[8][12]

One of the keys which the victim carried was made in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and had "DB09212" stamped onto it.[7][9]

The grass seed bag was connected to a factory in Buffalo, New York. It had been sold exclusively in the Massachusetts cities of Waltham, Rochdale, Lowell, South Weymouth, and Greenfield.[6][9] Years before the murder, production of this type of bag had been halted.[14]

Forensic pollen analysis of the items found with the body indicated she had spent time in a populous area, such as Boston, Massachusetts, or New York, New York.[10][15] These results were aided by the detection of cedar and hemlock pollen, which possibly originated from a site such as the New York Botanical Garden or Harvard University.[8][12]

The case has been featured on America's Most Wanted. Leads were processed but did not lead to the victim's identity or to that of her killer or killers.[6]

A break in the case was announced in December 2015 by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children after the Baltimore County police received a tip. A suitable match was discovered, being described as a Puerto Rican or Colombian teenager that had moved to Boston, Massachusetts with her parents and as many as five siblings. The explanation for the tattoo of "JP" on her arm was announced to possibly be the initials for a part of the city, known as "Jamaica Plain" where the possible match lived, on "Forbes Street." Potential school locations were also included. The department has had difficulties finding the relatives of the girl, putting the investigation on hold.[2]

On the 40th anniversary of her discovery, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released an updated reconstruction of the victim.[3]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Investigators renew efforts in Maryland cold case with Mass. ties". WCBV 5. Boston, Massachusetts. ABC. 20 December 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Woodlawn Doe Alert". National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Jane "Woodlawn" Doe". Help ID Me. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Police Ask For Help In 1976 Murder Case". WBAL TV 11. Townsend, Maryland. NBC. 7 January 2003.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Victim of 1976 Homicide Remains Unidentified". Baltimore.gov. Baltimore County Government. 6 March 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Woman's Body Found Outside Cemetery". America's Most Wanted. Lifetime. 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Waller, John. "Unidentified Murder Victim, from 1976, May Have Had Massachusetts Ties". Waltham, Massachusetts. Waltham Patch. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "UNSOLVED: WOODLAWN, MARYLAND JANE DOE, 1976". CrimeWatch Daily. Fox. 10 November 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Case File 279UFMD". The Doe Network. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d "Jane Doe 1976". missingkids.org. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b Leong, Tracey (10 October 2015). "Baltimore Co. Police Seeking Assistance Closing 1976 Cold Case". CBS Baltimore. Baltimore, Maryland. CBS. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e "NamUs UP # 1895". Identifyus.org. National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  13. ^ Lake, Leslie (10 March 2016). "NPD Cold Case investigator Lt. Art Weisgerber hopes to bring closure to family of teen missing since 1976". The Hour. The Hour Publishing Company. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Police Still Searching For Identity of Victim in 40-Year-Old Case". Baltimore County Government. 9 October 2015. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  15. ^ Hoffman, Nate (26 May 2014). "Maryland murder cold case may have Massachusetts ties". Metro News. Metro International. Retrieved November 21, 2015.

External links[edit]