CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — How do you solve a nearly 40 year old cold case? Chautauqua County investigators are using a method that was unimaginable in 1983, when a woman was found murdered along Old Rt 17 in the Town of Ellery.
This "Jane Doe Chautauqua County" Facebook page was set up last week.
“We want to get her identified, get the family some closure, and then hopefully that would give us some leads more into her homicide,” said Chautauqua County crime scene investigator Kristie Lyon.
Many leads have failed over the years, but one connected Lyon with a law enforcement agency in Louisiana. The agency used a Facebook page for its Jane Doe. The case was solved. The page is Jane Doe's first-person account.
“You you get that intrigue, people get intrigued by seeing that, that’s something that’s not seen everyday,” Lyon said.
Investigators said Jane Doe might have had a child 15 years prior to her death, and was approximately 33-37 years old when she died in 1983. Investigators believe she's from Canada or Europe based on dental work and an IUD that was only in four countries at the time, one of them being Canada. She was also wearing clothes from Europe when she was found.
DNA testing has been done on the clothing.
The Facebook page includes pictures of her clothing, as well as a note that was found on her from the Blue Boy Motor Hotel in Vancouver. The note has letters and numbers that have not been deciphered.
The motel no longer exists, but Lyon said investigators have receipts of everyone who stayed there when Jane Doe might have been there.
Lyon said she still brainstorms with some of the original investigators.
“They’re the ones that really did this leg work, we’re right now the ones that have the technology to try to get her face out there,” Lyon said.
Randy Vanderschaaff is a retired crime scene investigator for Chautauqua County. He was at the scene December 6, 1983, and began working on the case in 1985.
“Been involved with that until I retired in 2004," he said.
Vanderschaaff put her picture in a crime fighter magazine, and put her information in a European dental forensics journal.
“Well being that she’s never been identified that really kind of sticks with you because you would think this day in age somebody's gotta miss her somewhere,” Vanderschaaff said.
Lyon still works with INTERPOL and is looking to submit DNA to a genealogy agency.
So far there's been no leads from the page, but investigators check it everyday.
“We’re hoping that it's just going to go viral and somebody’s going to recognize her,” Lyon said.
This is the phone number for the sheriff's office, (716) 753-2131.