GLADEWATER, Texas (KETK) – After almost two decades with no answers, local and national organizers are working together to identify a Jane Doe found in East Texas.
In May 2002, the state department planned to widen Highway 135 and sent a crew to get soil samples from the Gladewater area. While they were there, they came across the partial remains of Jane Doe.
Her bones were sent to a local medical examiner who concluded that she was between 16 and 30 years old. They think she had been dead up to two years before being discovered.
According to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, there aren’t a lot of clues found from the body.
“There’s no indication of homicide or anything since very little of her was found,” said Lieutenant Eddie Hope.
The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office sent her skull to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who discovered that Jane Doe also had a cleft palette.
After that, her body was sent to California for more extensive research. That’s where the DNA Doe Project comes in.
“We wanted to help out any way we could, and so we came in and helped get everything lined up with the lab for DNA testing,” Kevin Lord with the DNA Doe Project said
DNA Doe is the same group that helped work another of East Texas’ greatest mysteries: Lavender Doe, also known as Dana Lynn Dodd.
The DNA Doe Project is a nonprofit volunteer organization that specializes in finding the identities of unidentified people who have died. They’ve been working for months to solve this local mystery.
“We’ve had some big clues in the case,” Lord said. “Almost all of the DNA matches go back to the same geographic area.”
Investigators believe that Jane Doe is from West Virginia, specifically Beckley or Raleigh County almost 1,000 miles away. They say she could also have ties to Surry County, North Carolina or Patrick County, Virginia.
Investigators have a theory for how Jane Doe got to East Texas.
“It’s a road that has an entrance and exit to the interstate, it would by easy for a trucker to dumper on the interstate and go,” Lord said.
They are working to reach out to her extended family to help put pieces together and finally give Jane Doe her identity.
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