The following is the March 17, 2001 article by Martha Hardcastle for the Dayton Daily News.
Officials work on Jane Doe case
Twenty years ago next month, the body of a pigtailed young woman was found on a rural Miami County Road.
Sheriff's deputies there are reexamining the case using today's improved communication tools and technology with hopes of at least identifying the woman, if not her killer too.
On April 24, 1981 a man moving into a residence on Greenlee Road in Newton Twp. saw what appeared to be some clothing on the side of the road. He slowed down and saw the body in the ditch.
The woman was about 5'6" and 130 pounds. She appeared to be in her late teens to mid-20s and her reddish-brown hair was plaited into thick pigtails. Her complexion was freckled and ruddy and she was wearing a brown and orange turtleneck sweater, a size 32 D bra, Wrangler brand jeans and a very distinctive handmade suede jacket with a purple satin lining.
A coroner's report revealed that she died of strangulation. She also had suffered blows to the head. And despite a great deal of media exposure, no one came forward to identify the body.
Miami County's Jane Doe was buried in a Potter's field at Troy's Riverside Cemetery. The case was never closed, although unknown to the MCSO, the case was accidentally dropped from the National Crime Information Center's database for about six years. The case was placed back in NCIC late last year.
Todd Matthews of Livingston Tenn., is an amateur sleuth who solved a 30-year-old unidentified case in Scott County Ky. known as the "Tent Girl" Matthews worked on the case for 10 years before finally finding the identity of Barbara Hackmann Taylor using the Internet in 1998. Matthews, who has aided other police departments including Piqua, has created a website to aid Miami County deputies with their Jane Doe at
In the early 1990s, the Sheriff's office participated in a task force trying to solve the serial killings of suspected prostitutes near or on Ohio interstate highways. The area's other long term Jane Doe, a woman found strangled on I-70 at the Hoke Road eastbound onramp in Englewood in 1987 was also part of that task force.
Det. Tom Wheeler has been assigned to the case, and he believes that maybe today he will be able to identify the woman.
"Without knowing who she is, we don't have a chance to find out who killed her," he said. He has also sent information to America's Most Wanted
and Unsolved Mysteries in hope that they will feature the case. He also isn't convinced that she was necessarily a prostitute. The woman was in remarkably good physical condition.
"Her teeth were in excellent condition and she had a plate," Wheeler said. "She was a very well-kept person."