Vernon Co. Sheriff’s Dept. exhume ‘Jane Doe’ killed in 1984
Investigators hope new technology will help find Jane Doe's true identity
VIROQUA, Wis. (WKBT) — Scattered among thousands of headstones in the Viroqua Cemetery lies the final resting place of Jane Doe. A woman found murdered in the ditch of a rural Vernon County road in May, 1984. For 31 years her identity and her killer have remained a mystery.
But the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department is hoping that all changes soon.
By some it has been called the perfect murder because in a time when fingerprints were the best method of identification, this Jane Doe had no hands. They had been severed at the wrist.
In 31 years, technology has drastically changed and investigators are hoping that change will mean they can soon give Jane Doe her name back.
“It was dumped like a bag of garbage,” said Lt. Scott Bjerkos of the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department.
Her body has recently been exhumed by investigators and sent for testing with the hope that new technology can shed some light on the case.
“There was no procedure for DNA. I mean, DNA (testing) did not exist 31 years ago. You’re concentrating on a blood type, type of hair, other things that we would say are old school type of technology,” Bjerkos said.
Bjerkos said the tests being done on Jane Doe will create a more accurate “likeness” or facial reconstruction photo, and the DNA testing should hopefully give Jane Doe back her true identity.
“In our Jane Doe case we know the hair color, we know the color (of her) eyes, and along with the precision measurements that the forensic artist is going to be doing, we feel very confident that the likeness is going to be a life-like likeness,” Bjerkos said.
Bjerkos said although he is confident, there is never a guarantee in law enforcement.
But after thousands of tips, more than 400 leads and more than three decades of mystery, Bjerkos said the Vernon County Sheriff’s Dept. is committed to finding out who Jane Doe really is, and hopefully one day bring closure to her family.
“I feel very confident that we will identify her and hopefully hold the individual accountable who murdered Jane Doe in 1984,” Bjerkos said.
Results from the tests are expected to take about six months.
It is believed that Jane Doe is not from Vernon County so the Sheriff’s Department is hoping that social media will help spread the word and help them solve the case.
The only information law enforcement believe they know at this time is that the killer is a male and it is believed that he was driving a vehicle resembling a bright yellow 1982 Datsun.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Vernon County Sheriff at 608-637-2123 or visit the website www.vernonsheriff.com