For practically 30 years, the id of a lady discovered wrapped in plastic within the woods of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, stumped investigators. They knew her solely as “Unknown Jane Doe,” a lady with brown hair, seemingly between the ages of 35 and 45 years outdated, and no taller than 5-foot-2.
However this week, detectives made a serious breakthrough, figuring out her as Merrybeth Hodgkinson, a 31-year-old unique dancer who vanished after visiting with household in Warminster, Pennsylvania in 1992.
“Once we exhumed her physique, there was an unknown grave marker with the title Jane Doe,” Bensalem detective Chris McMullin stated announcing the discovery Tuesday. Greater than 50 lacking ladies had been thought of and finally deemed not a match over the course of the prolonged investigation.
“Now when she’s returned to her household, they will put Merrybeth Hodgkinson on it,” he stated.
The trail to revealing who she was started on Sept. 18, 1995, when children who had been enjoying in a wooded space close to a diner in Bensalem discovered Hodgkinson’s decomposed bare physique enveloped in plastic wrap. Forensic specialists estimated on the time that the lady had seemingly been two to 3 years, police stated.
A number of articles of clothes, along with a pair of crucifixes—one silver, one gold—and a brown beaded seat cushion had been discovered buried close by, cops stated, however investigators had been unable to search out any form of identification. The Bucks County Coroner’s Workplace dominated the demise a murder after suspecting strangulation, though the exact reason behind demise was undetermined, they stated.
The dearth of clues confounded detectives and the case went chilly till McMullin revived it, and Hodgkinson’s physique was exhumed from its resting place at a cemetery in Telford, Pennsylvania, in 2004.
“I used to be dissatisfied with the unique investigation,” McMullin told the Bucks County Courier Times. “I felt much more will be completed.”
Hodgkinson’s stays had been despatched to the College of North Texas Heart for Human Identification the place a DNA profile was extracted and uploaded to a DNA index system in an effort to determine her.
However at the same time as DNA was processed, Hodgkinson’s title eluded the dogged detective for many years till a mixture of genealogical testing and matching on DNA websites lastly revealed her id.
MicMullen stated that with the assistance of forensic testing lab BODE Expertise, investigators constructed a DNA profile of Hodgkinson. In November, her profile was uploaded to family tree analysis web sites GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA.com, which compiles knowledge from totally different DNA testing corporations.
Further analysis led by a Virginia family tree skilled, Jennifer Moore, pointed to Hodgkinson’s title inside lower than per week.
“The household tree had led to a success on GEDmatch, which led us to a brother and a sister,” McMullin stated throughout Tuesday’s information convention, according to KYW-TV.
The profile paired with further genetic testing from Hodgkinson’s siblings confirmed her id, he added.
The invention marks a serious breakthrough within the chilly case, however detectives are nonetheless trying to find solutions about Hodgkinson’s mysterious demise. McMullin stated Tuesday that police are sifting by the opposite objects discovered close to her physique for shreds of DNA.
In accordance with the Courier Occasions, Hodgkinson’s demise seems to reflect the homicide of one other unique dancer the identical yr.
The bludgeoned and strangled physique of 42-year-old Toshiko Ciaccio was additionally discovered bare and wrapped in clear plastic and carpet close to her residence in September 1992, in line with police.
In 1994, William “Wild Invoice” Montgomery was arrested in reference to the homicide of Ciaccio and one other younger girl whose physique was additionally discovered wrapped up close to the Delaware River in August 1993.