“Someone’s Daughter” by Silvia Pettem

“Someone’s Daughter” by Silvia Pettem. The author contacted me last year to tell me about the book she was working on. While discussing “Cold Case Research” she hinted at another book she had written in 2009. If I wanted it, she’d send me a copy. She wrote that her heart was in that book. And it showed.

Someone’s Daughter; in search of justice for Jane Doe” is a must-read for all those who wish to help identify John and Jane Does. It is a must-read if you wish to blog about the search and the efforts that people make to identify the nameless victims.

Beautifully written and rich in detail, Silvia tells you the story of Boulder Jane Doe. It starts with the day she first saw Boulder Jane Doe’s headstone. It merely stated “Jane Doe, April 1954, age about 20 years.” This inscription would not leave Silvia and she returned many times to reflect on this life that was lost so many years ago. But who was this young woman and where did she come from? Moreover, why did she die and was anyone responsible for her death? If so, could they still be brought to justice?

The search to identify Boulder Jane Doe introduced Silvia to the world of forensics, Internet searches, the Doe network and the many people it takes to try and solve a cold case. You will meet the people who found Jane Doe. You will meet the team that helped Silvia do all the web searches and most importantly, you will meet the law enforcement officers and scientists who spearheaded the investigation. Above all, you will meet the one most likely responsible for her murder.

A slate of generous people made sure that Jane Doe’s body could be exhumed and reburied, that her remains were examined and put back together, that her bones could be tested for DNA and, that she received a new headstone.

The book shows you how the search led Silvia and her team to investigate similar cold cases of missing women. A few times they thought they had found Boulder Jane Doe’s identity and surviving family members. Technology had the last word and sadly had to disappoint many families. The book ends with the deepest wish to right this wrong.

Boulder Jane Doe’s identity was found later on by means of the Internet. The solution to this cold case is posted on Silvia’s website but I urge you to first read the book to see how long the search lasted and everything that was done to find Jane Doe’s real identity.

Highly recommended reading!

Cold Case Research” will come out in July 2012 and I cannot wait to read it!



  1. […] years ago, while working with my local sheriff’s office on the case of “Boulder Jane Doe” (a then-unidentified murder victim from 1954), my research led me to Prescott, Arizona. There, I […]