WI CHIMNEY DOE: WM, 18-35, found in store chimney between Madison & Middleton, Dane County, WI - 3 Sept 1989 *RONNIE KIRK*


On September 3, 1989 the owners of the Good ‘n Loud Music store on University Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin, while removing a leaky boiler in the basement, saw a skull through a pipe connecting the boiler to the chimney. Further investigation by authorities revealed a complete human skeleton. The skeleton was dressed in feminine clothing and wore an iron cross necklace. During the forensic autopsy the remains were determined to be that of a White/Caucasian male, 18-35 years old, about 5’ 7″ tall. There was no way the person could have gotten into the pipe from within the building.

DNA Doe Project Status: Research in Progress / "Doe-Nate"

It was Sept. 3, 1989, when the owners of the Good 'n Loud Music store on University Avenue halfway between Madison and Middleton found a pile of bones, a skull and rotting clothing at the base of the store's chimney. They had removed a boiler in the basement to repair a leak, and saw a skull through a pipe connecting the boiler to the chimney.

Sex: Male
Race / Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Estimated Age Group: Adult - Pre 40
Estimated Age Range (Years): 18-35
Estimated Year of Death: 1989
Height: 5' 7"(67 inches) , Estimated

Hair Color: Brown

Clothing: Wearing paisley print dress, Long sleeved shirt - Blouse black WHI STAG, Shag sweater size medium.
Jewelry: Iron cross necklace.

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The victim's skeletal remains were found in the chimney of a business on University Avenue in Madison, WI. The owner of the building was doing repair work, and saw water leaking from the flue onto the basement floor after removing a boiler. He shined a light into the chimney and discovered the remains at the base of the chimney about level with the basement floor. There is no way the man could have gotten into the pipe from within the building.

The person may have been a male cross-dresser or someone for some reason disguising himself as a woman.

Detectives have speculated the man was a burglar who got stuck in the chimney and died, or a murder victim who was stuffed into the chimney. Authorities have stated it is unlikely that he voluntarily entered the chimney.

The pelvic bones of the mystery man had been severely fractured and those injuries appear to have been caused at the time of death. Some speculate the injuries were inflicted by the killer stomping on this portion of the victim's body.

Clothing: A sleeveless paisley dress, with a matching belt; a long-sleeved, button-down shirt that may have been made of Oxford-type cloth. A medium-size White Stag brand, shaggy-pile sweater. Low-heeled, pointed shoes. He was wearing one pair of socks and carrying another pair. He was not wearing underwear.
Jewelry: A German iron cross medallion.
Additional Personal Items: Butter knife and a pocket comb.

Estimated Age: 18-35 years old
Race: White
Sex: Male
Height: 5'5" to 5'7"
Weight: Unknown, but victim had a thin build.
Hair Color: Brown, about 4 inches long.
Eye Color: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Narrow nose and strong jawline.

Dane County Doe was an individual whose skeletal remains were found in a chimney in 1989. The subject may have been a burglar who had gotten stuck or a homicide victim that was hidden in that location.

They are currently undergoing testing by the DNA Doe Project.

The skeleton was found by a custodian doing repairs at the building and discovered the remains inside the chimney of a business. The decedent was wearing women's clothing and could have possibly been disguised as a female or could have been a drag queen or trans woman.

The bones of the pelvic region had been broken and the injuries appeared to have occurred at the time of death, possibly from a fall or someone stomping on this portion of the victim's body. Authorities have stated that there was no indication that the decedent voluntarily entered the chimney, thus it is theorized that the decedent either entered on accident or was stuffed into the chimney by their killer.

The bones have been in a cabinet since 1989, some of the oldest in the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office and the centerpiece of one of Madison’s oldest unsolved mysteries.
On Sept. 3, 1989, the owner of a University Avenue music shop was doing some repair work in the basement. While looking for leaks, he found a human skeleton in a 20-inch pile at the bottom of the narrow chimney.

Thirty-five years later, the identity of “Chimney Doe” is still a mystery.

It’s a mystery, though, that recent advancements in DNA technology might finally solve.
Equipped with a genetic profile by Astrea Forensics, Dane County investigators have managed to keep the case alive. They have intimate knowledge of the person’s DNA, a maternal lineage drawn from hair samples.

It’s a step toward giving Chimney Doe what they haven’t had for the last 35 years: a name.


More at link. ~Summer

‘Chimney Doe’ found in Madison business identified after nearly 35 years​

After more than three decades, investigators announced they have identified skeletal remains found in the chimney of a Madison business.

Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes revealed investigative genetic genealogy aided in identifying the individual as Ronnie Joe Kirk. His remains were found on Sept. 3, 1989, at the Good ‘n Loud music store, in Madison.

“This unsolved case has puzzled people across the country for more than three decades, a human skeleton found in the chimney of a Madison music store way back in 1989,” Chief Barnes said.

Volunteers within the nonprofit were able to determine Kirk is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was born in 1942 and was adopted. Knapp explained that adoption can make genealogy work challenging.

“This was such a unique case with adoption, and multiple generations of different marriages, despite having a relatively close DNA relative match in the family,” said Knapp. “The shrewd genealogy work done by my team was amazing to tease out the various relationships. We’re so excited that we can give Ronnie Kirk his name back and hope his family has some closure for Ronnie being missing for so long.”

Authorities still do not know Kirk’s approximate age or when he died. They are also still trying to piece together why he was in Madison. At the time when he was found, investigators noted he was wearing what was thought to be a dress at the time and an iron cross necklace.

Chief Barnes hopes now that Kirk has his name back, people who may recognize him or have information about him will come forward to investigators.

“Someone will remember him and we’ll do everything that we can to try to trace down if he worked here, if he lived here or if he was just passing through, or going somewhere else,” Chief Barnes said. “We don’t know.”

Officials noted Kirk had connections to Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and Wisconsin.


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