I received the tip to look into the Chesterfield County Jane Doe from my friend Michele who grew up near this area in Virginia.
What do we know?
From WSLS: “On Aug. 7, 1986, workers were unloading trash from the School Street transfer station in Richmond at a Chesterfield landfill when they noticed what appeared to be human remains.”
An autopsy was performed. This article does not mention how long the woman had been dead.
The unknown woman is white woman, between 22-32 years of age, approx. 5’1″ to 5’5″, between 105-120 lbs, with shoe size 7-7½.
In 2019, authorities teamed up with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Reston, Virginia. They specialize in DNA phenotyping. This is a process that tries to predict the physical appearance and ancestry from the unidentified DNA carrier. You can see their prediction in the picture.
Authorities believe the unknown woman may have had ties to the following areas: the Richmond metropolitan area, Charlottesville, Buena Vista, Lynchburg, Baltimore, and Maryland.
I did some online digging and found more information. The woman is entered into NamUs and from there I have the following details:
1: The estimated PMI is days. PMI stands for Post-mortem interval (PMI) and this is the time that has elapsed since a person has died. So now we know that she died within days prior to being dumped into the landfill. This is crucial for retracing the case’s timeline. More below.
2: This case was entered into the NamUs database on Feb 4, 2010.
3: NamUs lists concrete location details: “Unidentified human remains found at the Shoosmith Landfill. The trash was collected from Richmond, Virginia.”
4: Recovery details: her head is missing, one or more limbs were not recovered, and both hands were not recovered. More on that below. The condition of the recovered remains are listed as : not recognizable. “Partial remains with soft tissues.”
5: Her hair is listed as sandy but obviously no eye color is indicated.
6: A very important distinctive physical characteristic: she had a hysterectomy.
7: Another possible identifier was found: an ankle bracelet on the left leg. It is made of black rubber type material. See picture.
- Post vaginal hysterectomy; bone island anomaly in right Iliac (hip/pelvic) bone
- Dentals: obviously unavailable
- Fingerprints: obviously unavailable
- Xrays and left foot inked footprints available
Note that it appeared that her remains were kept in a relatively cool environment such as a refrigerator, or in a semi-air tight container to delay decomposition. This reminded me of Anne Theresa Noblett who was found frozen.
Someone went through great lengths to hide her identity, her exact cause of death, and her exact date of death. Her hands were sawed off, her head is missing, and only the left leg was found. Let’s hope that the Parabon approximation triggers people’s memory.
Thank you, Michele, for alerting me to this case.
If you have any tips that could help the authorities identify this Jane Doe, please call the Chesterfield County Unsolved/Major Investigations Group at 804-717-6024. The NamUs Regional Program Specialist contact for this case is Katharine Pope. You can call her at (817) 879-9357.