Fairfax County Police Department Partners with Othram to Identify 1993 Jane Doe

Almost three decades later, the identity of a woman found in Virginia remains a mystery
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Published August 02, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In December 1993, landscape workers in Centreville, Virginia discovered a woman’s skeletal remains in a shallow grave. The woman’s skull was the first thing that the workers noticed before uncovering the rest of the woman’s remains, along with multiple articles of clothing and accessories. Investigators estimated that the woman, who was determined to be Caucasian, had been dead for several years prior to the discovery.

Investigators were able to determine that the unknown woman was between 27 and 34 years old and stood between 5’ and 5’3” in height. Her hair was described as fairly thick, and dark blonde to light brown in color. Investigators also noted that the dental care that the woman had received was relatively poor, as many of her teeth were in an advanced state of decay. Additionally, several discs in her back were herniated.

There has been strong national and local interest in identifying the woman over the decades since her remains were discovered. Many news outlets covered the grisly finding and subsequent investigation. The case was featured on the inaugural episode of The New Detectives, which aired in 1996. The forensic reconstruction was also shown on display in the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office on Cold Case Files in the episode titled "A Knock at the Door."

For decades, law enforcement diligently pursued various leads about the woman's identity. Her body was examined by Smithsonian anthropologists, and in 2011, the case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as case number #UP8493. Despite their exhaustive efforts, the woman’s identity has remained a mystery. With few leads for investigators to pursue, the case eventually went cold.

In 2022, the Fairfax County Police Department partnered with Othram to determine if advanced forensic DNA testing could help establish an identity for the woman or a close relative. The investigation continues as Othram begins to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the woman. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Fairfax County Police Department by calling 703-246-7511 and referencing agency case #1993-3400646.

A DNASolves crowdfund has been created to raise funds for the remaining casework costs. Anyone can contribute here.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.