The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office Partners with Othram to Identify 1982 Milwaukee Jane Doe

After four decades, Milwaukee Jane Doe's identity has remained a mystery
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Published February 15, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In March 1982, a young woman's body was discovered near 420 North Plankinton Avenue by an off duty Wauwatosa firefighter. The woman was floating between two metal barrels that were tied to a nearby pier in the Milwaukee River. She was described as an African American woman, with brown eyes and black hair that had featured a reddish tint. At the time of death, she was estimated to be between 15-25 years old. She might have been in the river for as long as three months before she was found.

Named "Milwaukee Jane Doe", the unidentified young woman stood about 5'3" and weighed 137 pounds. She had a vertical surgical scar midline on her lower stomach, a scar on her right ankle and a scar on her right forearm. It is suspected that the young woman might have also had an abdominal surgery in the past. There was evidence of extensive dental work including two extractions, a number of fillings and a partial bridge.

Milwaukee Jane Doe's death has been ruled as an accidental drowning. There is no evidence of foul play or trauma. Investigators have pursued all leads possible to identify the unknown young woman. In 2014 a forensic facial reconstruction was commissioned to illustrate what the woman may have looked like, prior to her discovery. In spite of the forensic sketch and the pursuit of leads, the identity of Milwaukee Jane Doe remains a mystery.

In 2022, with all leads exhausted, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office reached out to Othram with the goal of using advanced DNA testing to identify this woman or a close relative that might be able to identify her. Anyone that has information that could aid this investigation is encouraged to contact the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office (414) 223-1200. Please refer to medical exam case number 1982-0533 or NamUs UP7640. A DNASolves fund has been created to cover the cost of testing and research for this case.

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

(832) 906-4247
8301 New Trails Dr Ste 110, The Woodlands, TX 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.

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 recovery, 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.

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