Who is she? A woman killed 43 years ago in Illinois may have an Alabama connection

Source: Grundy County, Ill., Coroner’s Office
Source: Grundy County, Ill., Coroner’s Office(WTOK)
Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 2:34 PM CST
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UPDATE: According to the Grundy County Coroner’s Office throughout months of efforts, the DNA Doe Project has successfully located a close match to Jane Seneca Doe.

Here is the updated information known at this time:

-Jane Seneca Doe was likely born between 1948 and 1960 and would have been missing by October 1976.

-Her parents may have come from Selma, Alabama. One set of grandparents were from Selma.

-One of her grandparents was likely named Calhoun. One great-grandparent may have been named Harris.

-Other possible areas for her relatives: Dallas Co. or Wilcox Co., Alabama.

-At least one branch of the family moved to Ohio.

-She may have siblings who were unaware of her existence.

ORIGINAL: Do you know this woman?

Investigators in Illinois believe a 43-year-old cold case may have an Alabama connection.

On October 2, 1976, the body of an African-American female was discovered by a local farmer and his granddaughter in a field in Seneca, Illinois.

The case was investigated by the Grundy County Sheriff's Department and Grundy County Coroner's Office, who determined the female had been shot elsewhere and placed in this field. The victim had no identification.

After exhausting all efforts of attempting to identify the woman, she was subsequently buried in an unmarked grave on Thanksgiving Day 1976.

Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson who is investigating the case, said he has reason to believe the victim could potentially be from the Alabama-area.

For years the case remained cold and Coroner John W. Callahan reopened the case in late-2017, hoping to use modern-day forensic science techniques and technology to finally give the victim her name back.

On December 18, 2018, the Grundy County Coroner’s Office exhumed the remains of the female to utilize the advancements in DNA. A Forensic Odontologist also examined the remains and determined that the victim was between 15 and 27 years of age.

In late-April 2019, the University of North Texas Center For Human Identification lab developed a full female DNA profile and entered it into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS,) where the national database continues to search for a potential match to any missing persons nationwide.

On the eve of the victim's 43rd anniversary of discovery, October 1, 2019, Coroner Callahan, Chief Deputy Coroner Hintze-Symoniak and Deputy Chief Coroner Johnson placed flowers and an artist-rendered-image of how she may have appeared in life near the site of her discovery.

"This victim was someone's daughter, loved one or friend," said Deputy Chief Coroner Johnson. "We remembered and we will continue to remember this victim until she finally gets her name back."

The victim had brown eyes, weighing approximately 157 pounds and standing 5'07" and was accompanied by a red, white and black cardigan-style knit sweater.

If anyone recognizes her or lost contact with a friend, loved one or familiar face around October 2, 1976, please contact Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson at 815-941-3359 or email:

There is also a Facebook page dedicated to identifying this woman. Click the attached link.

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