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Remains could be girl from Florida

Posted at 10:44 AM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-27 03:19:00-04

The teenager was left with little in death.  She had no clothing and no jewelry when she was discovered in 1973. The mystery of how she died has never been answered.  In death, she was also stripped of her true identity, known simply as "Jane Doe" for the next 44 years.

The remains of the Caucasian girl with the light brown or blonde hair were exhumed last year so investigators could use modern practices to work her case. There is new hope she could be identified, as the information is being circulated around the country.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children used a CT scan of the girl's skull to generate a more clear image of how she may have looked in life, through facial reconstruction technology. It is an update to a sketch provided with information from the skull itself.

New forensic methods are also giving investigators new leads through DNA. 

The techniques allow investigators to use plant matter and biological factors to identify general regions of the country a victim or a clue might have originated. WPTV NewsChannel 5 learned students at Palm Beach Atlantic University are studying the concepts, which are not being widely used yet. 

Micro-DNA or Microbial DNA is based on particles that are on our clothing, skin and bones.  They are picked up from the foods that we eat and the plants and animals living nearby.  It is transferred to our clothing and items we touch, like cell phones and computer keyboards. 

NCMEC's tests used a "chemical isotope analysis" on the remains through the USF Forensic Anthropology Center with Dr. Erin Kimmerle.  

The unidentified remains were found in a rural part of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania on October 10, 1973.  She had been dead as long as three weeks before she was found in the Edward Martin Military Reserve in Fort Indiantown Gap.  She was several feet off a dirt road between Tomstown Road and Moonshine Road (Rt. 443), a place the locals locals call "Five Point."  

The new testing shows, however, the girl was likely not originally from Lebanon County. Instead, she was likely born and raised in the southeastern United States.  A map shows the general region investigators now believe she lived. That may be central-eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, central and southern West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, southern and eastern Virginia into southern Maryland and Delaware shores.

The oldest clues will now be seen through fresh eyes.  Investigators say she was 14 to 19 years old.  She was 5'5" to 5'8" tall.  She had light brown to blonde hair.  Her teeth tell a story of a young woman who had received dental care, with several fillings in her teeth.  

She was Caucasian, and possibly of Southeast European Descent.  

Call Pennsylvania State Police Jonestown at 717-865-2194 or NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-842-5678) if you can help.