Illinois ‘Jane Doe’ cold case linked to Alabama

Illinois ‘Jane Doe’ cold case linked to Alabama
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois and may have Alabama connections. (Source: SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office)

GRUNDY COUNTY, ILL. (WSFA) - An Illinois murder victim’s name has been elusive to law enforcement for 43 years, but the quest to give back her identity has taken a step forward with it being very likely she has family connections to Alabama.

Monday, the Grundy County, Illinois, coroner’s office provided an update on the case of the woman known only as “Jane Seneca Doe."

Doe, an African-American female between the ages of 15 and 27, was found dead in unincorporated Seneca, Illinois, on Oct. 2, 1976. She’d been shot in the head and her body dumped in a ditch.

A month passed without her identity being found, and she was subsequently buried without her name in an unmarked grave. There she rested until Dec. 2018 when her body was exhumed to undergo modern DNA testing.

The coroner’s office has been working with the DNA Doe Project, an organization that uses genetic genealogy to help ID the unidentified, and has now “successfully located a close match to Jane Seneca Doe.”

“Due to an extensive family tree, the Grundy County Coroner’s Office and the DNA Doe Project are requesting the public’s assistance in helping to finally identify Jane Seneca Doe,” the coroner’s office said.

To help further the investigation, Coroner John W. Callahan is asking the public to look at several key updates to the case:

  • Doe was likely born between 1948 and 1960 and would have been missing by October 1976.
  • Her parents may have come from Selma. One set of her grandparents was from Selma.
  • One of her grandparents was likely named Calhoun. One great-grandparent may have been named Harris.
  • Other possible areas her relatives reside include Dallas or Wilcox counties.
  • At least one branch of Doe’s family moved to Ohio.
  • She may have siblings who were unaware of her existence.

Do any of these updates ring a bell for you?

The victim had brown eyes, weighed approximately 157 pounds and stood 5′07″. She had a red, white and black cardigan-style knit sweater, which you can see below.

If you have information that could help crack this case, call Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson of the Grundy County Coroner’s Office at 815-941-3359 or e-mail him at bjohnson@grundyco.org.

She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office (Source: SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office)
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office (Source: SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office)
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office
She was murdered 43 years ago in Illinois. Do you know her? SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office (Source: SOURCE: Grundy County Coroner’s Office)

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