Pennsylvania State Police Teams with Othram to Identify Sugarloaf Jane Doe

After nearly three decades, the remains of a woman discovered in Sugarloaf Township, Pennsylvania are identified as Margaret Carol Wininger, born September 5, 1948.

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Published February 20 by Michael Vogen
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In December 1994, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered off Tomhicken Road in Sugarloaf Township, which is located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. A mining reclamation project was underway when skeletal remains were discovered. Authorities responded to the scene and determined that the remains were that of a female who was approximately 5’1” to 5’4” tall and estimated to be between the ages of 34 and 47 years at the time of her death. The woman could not be identified and she became known as Sugarloaf Jane Doe. Her cause and manner of death could not be determined.

In 1996, a clay facial reconstruction was developed and released to the public in hopes that it would generate new leads in the case. For approximately thirty years, investigators followed leads and made comparisons in an attempt to identify Sugarloaf Jane Doe. Multiple individuals were excluded in the search for the woman’s identity. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP8919.

In May 2023, the Pennsylvania State Police submitted forensic evidence to Othram, in The Woodlands, Texas in hopes that advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy could help to identify the woman. Othram scientists successfully developed a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown woman using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. Once this process was complete, the DNA profile was returned to PSP investigators, who used forensic genetic genealogy to develop new leads in the case.

Throughout the course of their investigation, investigators identified a possible relative for Sugarloaf Jane Doe. Through an interview with this relative, a DNA sample was obtained for comparison to the DNA profile of the unknown woman. The DNA sample confirmed that the relative was the unknown woman’s sister. Sugarloaf Jane Doe is now identified as Margaret Carol Wininger, who was born September 5, 1948. Margaret attended West Hazelton High School in 1965-1966. She went missing in the early 1990s when she was living with her family in Northeast Philadelphia.

The investigation is ongoing, and investigators are asking the public for information related to Margaret returning to the area in the early 1990s. Anyone who had contact with her during that time is asked to contact Trooper Brian Noll, Pennsylvania State Police Troop N Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit, at 570-220-8475 or

The Pennsylvania State Police would like to thank the public for their continued interest and attempts to assist with this case over the years, as well as the investigators that have driven this case since its inception, and the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigation Assessment Unit.

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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 to learn how we can help you with your case. With anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.