Charles County Sheriff’s detectives are seeking assistance identifying a woman whose body was found 25-years-ago, on June 18, 1998, in a field near Irving Road and Route 301 in Bel Alton, MD. The woman, whose identity remains a mystery, was the victim of a homicide. Since her discovery, detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division and investigators assigned to the Forensic Science Section (FSS) have continued to work with allied agencies and forensic partners across the country in an effort to identify the woman.
Throughout the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office has utilized numerous resources and advanced technologies to assist in identifying the victim:
- In 2005, a facial reconstruction was completed and distributed;
- In 2014, the FSS reached out to the Department of Homeland Security’s Biometric Support Center in an attempt to identify the victim through her fingerprints;
- In 2014, Dr. Erin Kimmerle, an Anthropologist at the University of South Florida assisted with the investigation by conducting isotopic analysis on the victim’s remains. Through the analysis, collected data allowed anthropologists to geo-reference the mobility of the victim. While the analysis did not identify her, the results shed light on her origin, indicating that she was born in the United States from the northeast region, and most likely a local of Maryland;
- In 2021, the FSS worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division/Latent and Forensic Support Unit in another attempt to identify the victim through her fingerprints, this time through the FBI’s Next Generation Identification;
- Latent Specialists with the Sheriff’s Office continue to regularly check available fingerprint databases and compare the prints of missing persons to the known prints of the victim.
Throughout the years, as DNA methods have advanced, multiple attempts have been made to develop a suitable DNA profile of the victim. Currently a mitochondrial DNA profile of the victim is available for comparison in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), should a maternal relative come forward seeking to identify the victim.
The FSS continues to evaluate new technologies to obtain additional DNA profiles suitable for comparison and identification. “Our goal is to work with our forensic partners in hopes of applying advanced testing methods to this case, and giving a name to “Jane Doe,” said Noelle Gehrman, Deputy Director of the CCSO’s Forensic Science Section.
Below are important details about the victim and investigation:
- The victim is described as a black female who was between 25 – 35 years old at the time of her death. She was between 5’4”- 5’7” and weighed between 115 – 135 lbs.
- She had a light complexion and no visible scars, marks or tattoos.
- She may have been associated with businesses in the area where she was found.
- Today, she would have been between 50 – 65 years-old.
- During the investigation, a tipster reached out through the Charles County Crime Solvers Tip Line. Detectives are asking the tipster, who’s tip number is 473-M3730, to call back.
Anyone with information about this case should contact Detective Christopher Shankster at 301-932-3037. Tipsters, who want to remain anonymous, may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Crime Solvers and the CCSO is offering a combined cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest or indictment in this case.
To view recent video outlining portions of this case, please watch this story: https://youtu.be/SilWkllPiC8
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in 2001 and has since earned the highest rating of Excellence. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.
Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app, which can be found in the Android Store and Apple store by searching P3tips. For more information about the P3 program, click on this link: www.p3intel.com.