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Local

26 years later, the search for Jane Doe's identity continues

On Sept. 13, 1991, a woman's body was found in northeastern La Salle County by a farmer working his fields.

Twenty six years later, her identity remains a mystery, but the La Salle County Coroner's Office is not giving up hope.
"We need to send her home," said Coroner Bill Wujek.
Forensic examinations found her to be white, approximately 5 foot, 4 inches, 120 pounds, an estimated age of between 35 to 45 with more than enough cocaine in her system to have killed her. The woman's death was deduced to be about three weeks earlier before she was discovered.
Local authorities knew what probably killed her, but county investigators were left with virtually no means to identify her — no personal effects were found with the body.
The original forensic exam found the woman had a significant amount of specialized dental work, breast implants (put in before implant numbering was required) and two uniquely designed tattoos of flowers — all of which has provided no clues in the cold case over the last 26 years.
Wujek recently said his office has given national agencies several pieces of the puzzle in the hopes of finding out who she was.
Working from scene and autopsy photographs, FBI forensic technicians have formed a 3-dimensional clay model of the woman, which provides more details than the portrait drawn during the initial investigation. He said an age regression sketch also has been created showing what the woman might have looked like at age 13.
Wujek said images of the model have been sent to the Illinois State Terrorism and Intelligence Center in the hopes of finding a positive identification.
"We have also recently worked with the Smithsonian Institute to perform extensive testing of carbon isotopes within her body's cells in an attempt to find out the general location of where she might be from," Wujek said. "We have been told that she may have originated or lived in Northern United States or maybe Canada."
Following years of searching reports from all over, local authorities have never found a match between any reported missing persons and the woman.
Her DNA profile has been sent to the National Institute of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records.
Waiting for someone to reveal her name, she now lies under a simple Jane Doe grave marker in Ottawa's Oakwood Memorial Park with the inscription: "Somebody's daughter, Somebody's Friend."
"And remember — once we find out who she is — that information will only lead us and others to a lot more questions in this mystery," Wujek said. "This office will keep this case open until we found out who she is."
La Salle County Chief Deputy Coroner Richard Ploch agreed.
"This is a puzzle that needs to be solved."

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