In September 1976, the body of a 15- to 30-year-old woman was found partially wrapped in a white sheet. She had been beaten, strangled, and raped. The rape had caused bleeding that had seeped into her clothing. Investigators speculated that she was murdered at a different location and then left at the scene at which she was found. Investigators determined that the young female murder vicitm was between 149 and 159 pounds and was 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 9 inches tall.
Investigators pursued all leads and attempted searches with dental and fingerprint records. There were no matches to an identity. Traditional forensic DNA testing also failed to produce an identity. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted in the investigation and produced multiple forensic facial reconstructions, in hopes that the image might produce tips or clues to her identity. Her case was even featured on America's Most Wanted.
In February 2021, BODE produced a DNA extract from the remaining degraded DNA evidence and sent the DNA extract to Othram in hopes that a comprehensive genealogical profile could be built. Othram used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to produce a genealogical profile and returned this profile to BODE. BODE genealogists then worked to produce investigative leads that, in collaboration with the Baltimore County Police, enabled the confirmation of Woodlawn Jane Doe's identity as 16-year-old Margaret Fetterolf. The investigation continues into who was responsible for her sexual assault and murder. Anyone who might have information on this case is asked to contact Baltimore County detectives at 410-307-2020.
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 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.