Greek victim of ‘Jane Doe’ in Mississippi cold case

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The Greek “Jane Doe”, whose remains were found in 1980, was allegedly the victim of a homicide. A forensic genealogist and her team are asking for the public’s help in uncovering her true identity. Credit: Harrison Country Sheriff’s Office.

A Greek “Jane Doe” was most likely killed in a murder that occurred in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1980. Entirely ethnically Greek, she must have relatives in North America and Greece; Uncovering the true identity of the victim is the quest of American Medical Examiner Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick.

A physicist who once worked for NASA, Fitzpatrick has devoted years to genealogical and DNA research to locate missing persons and identify “Jane Does” and “John Does”, people whose remains have been found but whose identity remains unknown.

Despite the passage of time – it has been almost 42 years since the skeletal remains of the 20-year-old woman were found – Fitzpatrick recounts Greek journalist in an exclusive interview, she is “almost 100% sure” she can solve the mystery of the woman’s identity through a combination of genealogy and DNA research.

Jane Doe
The recreated face of the Greek “Jane Doe” whose skeleton was found in 1980. She is believed to have been the victim of murder. Credit: Identifinders/Harrison County, Mississippi Sheriff’s Department

But the forensic genealogist is now reaching out to as many Greeks as possible, all over the world, to help her in her attempt to piece together Jane’s true identity.

Using tools she has honed over years of practice, Fitzpatrick, a former NASA physicist who is the founder of Identifinders, a company that specializes in finding missing persons, is convinced that at at some point, the name of the female victim in this disturbing case may become known.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

However, she and her team of Identifinders, who have gained worldwide fame for the many cold cases they have solved, may need the help of the Greek and Greek-American public on this cold case, which has tormented them for ever. about two years.

This Greek “Jane Doe” – who remains unknown as she was never reported missing by family or friends – may have been trafficked to the United States; she may even have originally been one of many Greek children who were adopted from Greek hospitals and orphanages under highly suspicious circumstances from the mid-1950s to the 1960s.

Or his reality could have been quite different. She could even have been a tourist, says the forensic genealogist.

Fitzpatrick, who is known worldwide as the founder of modern forensic genealogy, has successfully solved a series of cold cases and may very well find the true identity of the Greek woman; she has already identified Jane’s third cousin in Canada.

Jane’s skeletal remains were discovered near Biloxi, Mississippi in 1980. She was estimated to be around 20 years old at the time of her death, so she was most likely born in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Fitpatrick tells Greek journalist “We use forensic genetic genealogy techniques which have been useful in finding distant cousins, but there are many challenges in applying the technique to recent immigrants such as ‘Ms. Harrison’ (the colloquial name under which Jane is known to investigators on her case).

“We have contacted local Greek churches and other organizations along the Gulf Coast, but no one has been able to provide any information about him.

“In the meantime, we are working with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office to try to get his DNA profile into Interpol,” Fitzpatrick adds.

Fitzpatrick is the co-author of one of the basic texts in his entire field. Entitled “Forensic Genealogy”, it was published in 2005.

In this book, she shows how one goes about putting together clues that eventually paint the whole picture of a person’s identity. This involves photo identification, database mining, and DNA testing for genetic genealogy, including autosomal DNA testing information, among other aspects of research.

“At first it was a hobby, but a few months later I was hired by a company looking for owner people,” she explains to Greek journalist. Once she managed to find these people – who were in Taiwan, a place she had never even visited before – Fitzpatrick was hooked, knowing she could find almost anyone, anyone. where, if she could have accomplished that.

Over the years, she “found 75 people in thirty different countries around the world, even when they themselves had moved to different countries,” she recalls.

“In 2011, I had the idea of ​​using genealogy to solve cold cases,” Fitzpatrick says, adding that she ended up approaching the Seattle Police Department with the concept.

The first cold case she solved this way was in 2015. She is also a co-founder of the “John and Jane Doe Project”, which focuses on those most difficult cases of all, in which many times the victims do not were not missing. by their friends or family.

Once tasked with finding the identity of a man whose hand fell on a glacier after a plane crash in Alaska, she did just that, “thanks to a combination of a key person who provided the name of a person in a village in Ireland who had been linked to that person in the 1800s,” she explains to Greek journalist.

Incredibly, she was able to somehow identify the veteran “going through the mitochondrial DNA of his female side,” she explains. She also does a lot of very difficult and emotionally charged work identifying Holocaust victims.

Detectives probed Greek-Americans in Gulf Coast states for clues to Jane Doe’s identity

Detective Coley Judy was working on the Greek Jane Doe case when her skeleton was first found. He recalls that all possible avenues have been explored in his investigation of the case, including surveys of Greek Orthodox churches and communities in the Gulf States.

He told Fitzpatrick he had spoken to a large number of Greek Americans in that southern region, admitting they had been unlucky so far. “Nobody recognizes her, nobody,” Fitzpatrick laments, adding that although one of his staff genealogists “found an adoptee who lived in Alabama,” it was a “long shot” since the hair color of the wife was fake.

She and her team are still looking for the birth certificate of this individual, whose adoptive parents are now deceased. “We have learned almost nothing about her”, apart from her ethnic identity, recognizes the forensic genealogist.

But that may very well change. When Greek journalist Asked Fitzpatrick how likely she was to solve the case, she said confidently, “My balance sheet says 100%. But I can’t tell you when,” she admits. I’m pretty good at the international stuff. If we could solve it, it would be the first solved case for Greece using this method (DNA)”.

Anyone with relevant information about this Greek Jane Doe who died so long ago in Mississippi is asked to contact Dr. Fitzpatrick at [email protected]

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