Author Topic: NEW BRIGHTON JANE DOE: NF, 25-50, found at Long Lake Regional Park - 15 September 2000  (Read 246 times)


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New Brighton police renew efforts in 2000 Jane Doe death

A reconstruction approximates the face of a woman whose body was found Sept. 15, 2000, in a swampy area of Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton. Anthropologists say one of the woman s top front teeth was missing and the gap was visible when she smiled.
By NANCY NGO | | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: September 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm | UPDATED: November 12, 2015 at 6:56 am

On the 10th anniversary of the discovery of a woman’s naked and decomposed body in a swampy area in New Brighton, police are reopening the unsolved case in hopes of finding out who she was and what happened to her.

Investigators believe her death was a homicide. And they hope their two latest efforts — rereleasing a composite sketch Wednesday that could help identify the mystery woman, as well as using the latest DNA technology — will bring in new evidence.

“We remain hopeful that one day we will get that tip that will pan out,” said Tony Paetznick, deputy director of the New Brighton Department of Public Safety. “It’s been frustrating not being able to identify her for so long.”

Paetznick said DNA technology could provide new clues to the owner of a tennis shoe found near the woman on the day her body was discovered. Paetznick said the shoe did not belong to the woman. It appeared to have been recently placed there even though the woman had been dead for 45 days to six months.

“The shoe has always been that piece of the puzzle,” Paetznick said. “It was almost like it was used as a marker … or it could have been just a coincidence.”

On Sept. 15, 2000, two teenagers walking along a trail in Long Lake Regional Park came across a tennis shoe in the middle of the path. The shoe pointed toward Rush Lake, about 20 to 25 feet to the north.

The high school students thought the placement of the shoe was odd, so they followed the direction it was pointing. After making their way through weeds and poplar trees, they made it to the edge of the lake, where they found the body wrapped in cattails.

It took detectives time to find out more about the dead woman. Initially, the gender was unclear. The body had no clothing, jewelry, scars or tattoos.

Because the body was badly decomposed, internal organs were gone. It also was impossible to fingerprint or determine eye color. Dental records did not identify the body.

What authorities did know was there were signs of sharp-force injuries consistent with stab wounds on the body.

A state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension forensic sculptor reconstructed the woman’s face, and a composite sketch was released.

Anthropologists determined the victim was white, about 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall and was between 35 and 50 years old. Her hair was brown or reddish in color.

She also had a healed fracture on her right middle finger and had osteoarthritis of the spine. The woman had significant dental work, including three root canals. All four wisdom teeth had been removed. Anthropologists were also able to determine one of her top front teeth was missing and the gap was visible when she smiled.

Paetznick said the department has followed more than 400 tips and not being able to identify their Jane Doe for the past decade has been wearisome.

Lead detective Gary Sykes keeps the composite sketch of the woman in his office as an everyday reminder.

“It never leaves his mind,” Paetznick said.

Nancy Ngo can be reached at 651-228-5172.

Know This Woman?

Anyone with information about the woman whose body was pulled from a New Brighton swamp 10 years ago is asked to call investigators at 651-288-1400. Anonymous tips can be left at 651-288-4137.