After 30 years, a Jane Doe discovered at Bone Lake in Scandia, Minnesota could be closer to being identified.
“Our team at the DNA Doe Project is grateful to announce that a major donor has gifted funds to cover all remaining costs associated with seven John and Jane Doe cases, including two pre-fund cases that will proceed to the laboratory for testing,” said an update on the organization’s Facebook page.
Last fall, Wes Eisenchenk, a resident of North Branch, brought this cold case to the Country Messenger’s attention. In October, we published a story about a fundraising campaign to begin DNA sequencing for the Bone Lake Jane Doe - the victim of an apparent homicide. The fundraising campaign was organized by the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit volunteer-based initiative that uses investigative genetic genealogy to identify John and Jane Doe unidentified remains.
At that time, approximately 2.7% of the funding goal had been met for Bone Lake Jane Doe. $597 had been raised and $3,500 was needed to begin the DNA sequencing.
“It was really exciting to hear the news about the donation,” said Eisenchenk.
“Whoever contributed those funds was incredibly generous. This is a huge step forward for the Bone Lake case and others.”
Eisenchenk lives approximately 17 miles from the location on Bone Lake where the victim was discovered. Originally from Cold Spring, Minnesota, Eisenchenk was the same age of Jacob Wetterling when he was abducted and, “had a classmate that was abducted by the same perpetrator in Wetterling’s case,” he said.
“Since that time, I’ve had an interest in cold cases and follow the DNA Doe Network. The organization has an impressive success rate in identifying victims.”
Bone Lake Jane Doe case
On June 12, 1993, at 9:30 a.m., the head of a woman was discovered floating near the shore of Bone Lake in New Scandia Township, Minnesota. Authorities said an area resident who had recently purchased property on Bone Lake was walking along the shore on a Saturday morning and saw what he thought was the head of a mannequin floating in the water. The resident called the police after discovering it was a human head.
Shortly after the head was found in Bone Lake, a foot was found on the bank of Pig’s Eye Lake approximately 20 miles southwest in St. Paul. According to Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. David Heuer, who investigated the case at the time, the Washington County Medical Examiner believes the foot and head belonged to the same woman partly because they were both cleanly cut. DNA tests on tissue samples were done to determine whether they came from the same victim. Police ultimately connected the foot to the head and conducted further searches of the areas surrounding the two locations. No further body parts were located.
The woman was caucasian and had dark brown spiky hair and brown eyes. Her ears were triple pierced (with no earrings) and she had red toenail polish on her toes. At the time, Washington County Sheriff’s department reported that the woman had been deceased for two to four days before her head was found on the shore of Bone Lake. She was in her mid-20s to early 30s. The report indicated the victim was between 25 to 32 years old.
The only tip police received was from a phone call they received early June 21, 1993, from a man who said he killed the woman and left her body under the Mendota Bridge near the Minnesota River. Heuer said the police searched the area for eight hours that day before the river began flooding. The caller said the woman was from Wisconsin and “he was very sorry the police did not find the rest of her.” The man called on a tip line and the police hoped he all back with a more specific location. Heuer said the call could have been a prank but that the man “sounded real” and the tip “is all we have.” Authorities sent the woman’s description, including dental work, to the National Crime Information Center and every police department in the five-state area. Her dental work was compared with dental records in a computer bank. Nothing showed up.
The case became cold, lacking any further attention from the Star Tribune past July of that year.
In addition to Bone Lake Jane Doe, the anonymous donation to the DNA Doe Project will help cover costs associated with other cases including: Tempe, Girl, New Buffalo Jane Doe, Franklin County Jane Doe, Ms. Startex Jane Doe, Suzanne Jane Doe and Frank R. Beck (formerly Downtown Phoenix John Doe).
Accoring the the DNA Doe Project Facebook page, “Gifted funds help provide answers to waiting families and help restore the names of John and Jane Does.”
For more information about the DNA Doe Project visit https://dnadoeproject.org
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