WI VERNON COUNTY JANE DOE: WF, 50-63, found near Westby, WI - 4 May 1984


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On May 4, 1984 three teenagers found the body of an unidentified white female on a gravel road in rural Vernon County near Westby, Wisconsin. Investigators believe the woman was killed somewhere along the same road and moved to the spot where she was found. Her face had been rendered unrecognizable from the extensive damage that had been done through blunt force trauma. Her hands had been removed, presumably in an effort to prevent identification by fingerprints. After the case was featured on the local news, a couple came forward and stated they saw a suspicious man in the area driving a yellow 1982 Datsun, but investigators were unable to locate the man, or to identify the deceased.

DNA Doe Project Status
Research in progress

Type: Unidentified Deceased
Date Body Found: May 4, 1984

Location Found Map
Location: Westby, Wisconsin
County: Vernon County
Circumstances of Recovery: Body found along rural gravel road. Both hands were severed at the wrist and have not been located. A yellow two door compact vehicle was seen in the vicinity.

Details of Recovery
Inventory of Remains: One or both hands not recovered
Condition of Remains: Recognizable face

Physical Description
Hair Color: Brown
Head Hair Description: Brown - Hair is graying near temples.
Left Eye Color: Blue
Right Eye Color: Blue

Clothing and Accessories
Accessories: Upper dentures with numbers 420 or 4-20 inscribed and 289 in raised lettering.
Clothing: Brown and blue plaid jacket (with pink/purple lining), black and blue dress, tan loafer shoes
Jewelry: Men's quartz SEIKO watch model 8620 0019 serial number 5498

Warning: Post-mortem photos at NamUs link

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Estimated Age: 50-65 years old
Race: White
Gender: Female
Height: 5'5" to 5'6"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Hair Color: Tinted brown with streaks of gray at the temples. She may have had a permanent shortly before her death.
Eye Color: Blue
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Toenails were left untrimmed with nails having a hooked appearance. Vertical abdominal scar (43/4") along her midline. Blood type O postive.

Between 11:15pm and 11:30pm, three people driving along Old Line Road saw the victim's body lying at the roadside, about six miles from Westby, Wisconsin. Her hands were severed at the wrist and have not been recovered.

The killer made no attempt to hide her body. She had been bludgeoned to death at another location. A yellow 2-door compant vehicle was seen in the vicinity.

When the sheriff's deputy arrived on scene at 11:50pm, he noticed fresh tracks in the gravel indicating a vehicle had made a U-turn.

After seeing the news report the murder, a couple stated they had seen a parked, bright yellow compact car with a man outside of it. The man was moving around to the driver's side from the passenger side at about 9:45pm on May 4th. When investigators checked the area the couple reported seeing the vehicle, they found a piece of the fractured denture, some blood, and a man's Seiko watch. The watch's band had separated from the watch at one end.

Based upon the tire tracks, investigators theorize that the suspect had pulled of US Highway 14 and made an attempt to dump the body when the couple interrupted him. As he drove away, his tires spun. The car then went south then west on Old Line Road about three miles and dumped the body.

Investigators believe the victim was not native to the area where she was found. Over 400 leads have been followed in the case.

In May 2018, it was announced that forensic tests on the pollen on the victim's clothing indicated she was possibly native to Arizona or New Mexico, or had at least spent time in those states.


Staff member

Vernon County Jane Doe is an American murder victim whose body was found on May 4, 1984. Her identity remains unknown.[1][2][3] Her hands had been removed, probably to prevent identification by means of fingerprinting.

The case has been heavily investigated since discovery of the body, with no progress toward finding either her identity or her murderer.[4]

Over 4,000 leads have surfaced in the case, one recently being the arrest of multiple persons who fraudulently used checks from a missing Amherst, Wisconsin woman who disappeared around the same time as when the Jane Doe was found.[13][14]

Despite the possible link to Amherst, police believe that she did not reside in the area where she was found.[11] Seven missing women have been ruled out as possible identities.[2][15]

Authorities have used news media multiple times toward identifying the victim. In 2012, officials "pushed" the case to reach areas of both Minnesota and Wisconsin that were linked to Highway 14.[4] The case was broadcast in a three-day news special, titled as "Catching Her Killer: Justice for Jane Doe," to uncover new leads in 2013. Yet no lead so far has proved useful.[5]

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