Investigators Close to the Identity of Unknown Woman with North Carolina Ties: Team Working 1982 Cold Case Seeks to Name State Hospital Jane Doe

AUSTIN, Texas, May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Working with authorities in Richland County, South Carolina, investigators at FHD Forensics have made important progress in their efforts to identify a woman who died in 1982 shortly after being hospitalized at the South Carolina State Hospital. They are now seeking help from the public in a particular region in North Carolina to bring the case to a conclusion.

Richland County’s State Hospital Jane Doe was a patient buried by the coroner’s office in the Richland County Cemetery when she died without a name on February 15, 1982 after a seizure. In spite of exhaustive efforts to determine her identity, she has remained unidentified for more than 40 years.

Recent advanced DNA testing has revealed a lot about her origins, although her particular immediate family has not yet been identified. This doesn’t deter the genealogy detectives analyzing her genetic profile. More is known about the woman than ever before.

“The small, close knit North Carolina communities that our Jane Doe traces to reflect a lot of the same surnames seen over and over; however, we don’t have the right matches yet to point to a particular missing individual,” said forensic genetic genealogist Allison Peacock, president of FHD Forensics.

Peacock’s company is collaborating with the Richland County Coroner’s Office to identify the woman who was likely born in the area between 1935 to 1945. Her genetic matches place her origins in Wilkes and surrounding counties in North Carolina, especially the communities of Wilkesboro and Traphill. Research is now focused on locating relatives from the Prevette, Higgins, Pennington, Miller, Gilley, and Mahaffey families.

Funding for the investigation is being provided by the Dean and Tina Linn Clouse Memorial Fund managed by FHD’s sister 501(c)3 organization, Genealogy For Justice™. The case is one of the inaugural investigations underwritten by the fund named for a young couple murdered in Texas in 1980. Dean and Tina were identified in 2021 using the same technology being applied to this case.

My Junior remained unidentified for more than four decades while we prayed for news of him,” explained Dean’s mother, Donna. “We created this fund because we want to pay it forward…be someone else’s miracle.”

Everyone involved in the project knows that someone somewhere has likely been hoping for years that a miracle might bring information on their missing loved one.

“It’s why we all get up every day and get to work,” said Peacock. “From our genealogists to our lab partners to the coroner’s team, we all want to give this woman back her name.”

Anyone with information about a family member from Wilkes County and the surrounding North Carolina region who went missing in the early 1980s is asked to contact the Richland County South Carolina Coroner’s Office anthropology team hotline at 803-576-1793 and leave a voicemail.

Tax-deductible donations for this and other cold case genetic genealogy investigations can be made on the Genealogy For Justice fundraising hub on GiveButter.

Media contact:
Cyndi Despault
FHD Forensics

(512) 270-1301

SOURCE FHD Forensics