Michigan State Police Hope to Identify Jane Doe Found in Lake Michigan in 1988
Michigan State Police exhume the body of a Jane Doe that was discovered on the shores of Lake Michigan 33 years ago in an effort to identify her.
Michigan State Police Niles Post and New Buffalo Police Department are asking for help identifying the woman whose remains washed ashore on the New Buffalo breakwater of Lake Michigan on April 8, 1988. Police believe she could be a missing person from any of the states that border Lake Michigan.
The body of the New Buffalo Jane Doe is described as a middle-aged white woman who was approximately 5 feet and 5 inches tall, weighed 175 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. Michigan State Police say in a media release that they believe she was wearing a wig or braided extensions that had been pulled from her scalp.
New Buffalo Jane Doe was found wearing a pair of men's denim blue jeans with a wide double ring in a size 38, with a striped cloth belt. Under her jeans, she was wearing a pair of red, white, and blue shorts, full-length pantyhose, and black ankle boots with a zipper at the top.
New Buffalo Jane Doe was found without a shirt but did have on a bra police describe as heavy-duty, sandy in color, and containing a clasp in the front. Police say the original investigators made no mention of whether socks or underwear were present.
During the autopsy, it was discovered New Buffalo Jane Doe had previously undergone a hysterectomy and she no longer had her uterus, bilateral tubes, or ovaries. She also has a scar that stretches from her pelvis to her naval area.
A forensic examination of her dental health showed her teeth and mouth were in excellent condition. The examining doctor noted that she had likely never or drank alcohol excessively due to the lack of staining observed. The same doctor also believed New Buffalo Jane Doe may have come from an economically well-off background based on the porcelain bridge replacing a front tooth. The doctor indicated this type of work was considered experimental at the time and was probably performed within the preceding five years of her death.
An exhumation took place on November 9, 2021, to collect a DNA sample for CODIS entry and forensic genetic genealogy. Dental records are on file for comparison to known missing persons.
During the exhumation, authorities were assisted by Western Michigan University WMed Anthropology Department, Hannah Friedlander, MSP Human Remains Analyst, and the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad.
Anyone with information that could help identify New Buffalo Jane Doe's is asked to contact the MSP Niles Post at 269-683-4411 or the New Buffalo Police Department at 269-469-1500.
References the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network case number NIC# U298164075 or National Missing and Unidentified Persons System case numer NAMUS# UP8228