Pollen samples could connect a 35 year old cold case to the Maryland area.
On April 24, 1981, an unidentified woman was found in a ditch on Greenlee Road west of Troy, Ohio. She had been dead less than two days before she was found.
Detectives in Miami County, Ohio said the young woman, now called “Jane Doe,” was only in her late teens to early twenties. She had several scars—one beneath her chin, one on her left arm, two on her left wrist, right hand, right ankle and right foot—and was found wearing bell bottom blue jeans, a brown turtleneck sweater with an orange crisscross design on the front and a handmade tan buckskin pull-over jacket with leather fringe around the seams with a deep purple lining.
This February, forensic scientists with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children worked with Miami County detectives to reconstruct the woman’s face using new technology. They also conducted new lab testing on her clothing.
Pollen samples from her clothes were sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Southwest Regional Science Center in Houston, TX for analysis.
These lab results indicated that the woman was either from, or spent a significant amount of time, in the Northeastern dry-oak forest region, which includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Major Steve Lorde with the Miami County Sheriff’s office told ABC2 News that this region also includes areas in Maryland.
Soot from vehicle traffic or industrial activity was also found on her clothes, suggesting she may have spent time in an urban area within the Northeastern region or possibly from hitchhiking.
Police said some pollen grains were from a more arid region in the western U.S. or northern Mexico, suggesting the woman traveled to an arid region in the western U.S. or northern Mexico shortly before she was killed.
Additional testing will be performed in order to narrow the region of the country the woman may have been from, according to police.
Major Lorde told ABC2 that the sheriff’s office has received a “significant response” from tipsters since releasing the new case information last week.
The woman was approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall and 125 pounds. She had long, reddish-brown hair styled in two side braids with a part down the middle. She had a ruddy complexion with freckles on her face. Her top right central incisor had a porcelain metal crown.
Anyone with information on Jane Doe’s identity can contact Detective Steve Hickey with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, 937-440-3965 ext. 6629 or the Miami County Communication Center at 937-440-9911.