Law enforcement agencies have let solvable cold cases languish despite forensic science advances and a federal database that includes information on 10,000 people found deceased without an identity in the United States.
Known only as “Mountain Jane Doe,” her stabbed body was found in Harlan, Kentucky, and quickly buried in a local cemetery in 1969. Authorities ordered the exhumation of her remains more than four decades later, but things didn’t turn out the way they expected.
The largest lab that tests DNA for missing people and unidentified dead no longer will accept DNA samples from law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories across the country because of a nearly $1 million cut to its funding.
Nearly half a century after the saga of “Mountain Jane Doe” began, authorities in a small Kentucky mining town say they are one step closer to identifying the murder victim found in 1969.
Investigators in New Hampshire are promising that new information will soon be available in one of the nation’s strangest so-called Jane Doe cases. Hunters first found the remains of a woman and a girl stuffed in a barrel in Allenstown, New Hampshire, 30 years ago. It took another 15 years for authorities to discover that there was another barrel just 100 yards away containing the remains of two more young girls.
Our goal with The Lost & The Found was to streamline the process of matching missing persons with the unidentified dead and create a tool could lead to more cases being solved.
There are at least 10,000 unidentified bodies in morgues and cemeteries across the country. Bodies may remain unidentified for far too long because agencies are not required to share case information about missing people and Jane and John Does.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy announced that he plans to introduce “Billy’s Law,” a bill that would provide $2.4 million in funding each year through at least 2020 for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Previous attempts to pass the legislation failed three times in Congress.