Sheriff Dennis Richards tells 27 News after just 48 hours the office starting getting calls with information. Detectives are following up on several missing persons cases from a similar time frame to that of their Jane Doe's death. A call came in about a missing woman farther north in Wisconsin and authorities even received a tip from Florida.
"When people send us information or names of people who are missing, it gives us a spot to start rather than not having anything," Richards says. "Many times probably those people are going to be ruled out, but not only for our case but their case also, it helps them know that this is not that person."
Richards says investigators are waiting on DNA results from the FBI Crime Lab that can be run against the national missing persons list to look for a match. They'll also work to develop a new rendering of what they believe the woman looked like before her death, hoping new technology can provide a face someone may recognize.
In 1982, forensic dentist Don Simley helped Columbia County authorities attempt to identify Jane Doe. Simley says he shared information about the remains with state and national dental journals, but was unable to turn up a match among dental records.
"She had some unique dental characteristics that I really thought that she would be identified," Simley tells 27 News. "There were a handful of other people that I did end up comparing to this Jane Doe, but nothing has come about."
Simley says the unidentified woman had an unusual partial denture and unusual crowns that could easily be compared to a dentist's records for identification, the problem is finding that dentist.
There is no national database of dental records, so Simley says if there is no lead on who an unidentified person may be and what dentist that person visited over the years, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
It could be 8-12 weeks before the FBI lab is able to complete DNA testing. Richards says any information is valuable in the investigation right now and the public may have just what investigators need to solve the crime.
An anthropologist's study of the remains found the unidentified woman was killed by a blow to the head, possibly up to a year before her remains were found in 1982.
Jane Doe is believed to be a white woman, between 45 and 65 years old at the time of her death, around five and a half feet tall. She likely gave birth at some point in her life.
Richards tells 27 News it's possible the woman's killer may no longer be alive, but believes someone out there is still looking for her.
"She's somebody's family member and right now they're wondering where she is and we're wondering who she is," says Richards.
Contact Columbia County Sheriff's Office at (608) 742-4166 with any information.
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