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Jane Doe exhumed in Fond du Lac County

Aerial view of law enforcement vehicles at the cemetery to exhume the remains of Jane Doe for...
Aerial view of law enforcement vehicles at the cemetery to exhume the remains of Jane Doe for further testing (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 26, 2018 at 4:25 PM CDT
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The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office has exhumed the body of Jane Doe. The unidentified woman was found dead in a shallow creek back in 2008. Authorities say she was murdered.

With advances in technology, detectives are hoping new tests could help to develop a more detailed profile of the woman.

Six-and-a-half years after the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office held a funeral for Jane Doe, some of the same faces gathered again at Cattaraugus Cemetery while a chaplain offered prayer.

"May those who bear responsibility in this process, show care and compassion and be given wisdom and skill," said Michael Hackbarth, one of the sheriff's office chaplains.

Cemetery staff then began digging up the plot where Jane Doe was laid to rest.

According to Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink, "We're going to go back out and we're starting over and plunging forward again. We will not let this go. Some family needs to get her back."

With the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the sheriff's office has recently released new, additional composite sketches of Jane Doe.

Now, by exhuming her body, it hopes new scientific testing will reveal more detailed information about her background.

"Stabilized isotope analysis has been done for many, many years with archeological bone, and it's just in the last 10 or 15 years that that technology is being applied to cold cases and forensic investigations," says Dr. Leslie Eisenberg.

Forensic anthropologists Eisenberg and Dr. Jennifer Love are overseeing the sample gathering. The two accompanied the body to the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner's Office where bone, teeth and hair are being collected.

Those samples will be sent to a lab for additional testing.

Dr. Eisenberg says, "When our tooth enamel is being formed it will tell you something about the isotope ratios in the water and the soil where you grew up. Hair and bone will tell you more about where the person may have lived for the last seven or eight years of her life."

The sheriff's office expects some of those answers to come in about six months when the testing is completed.