State police exhume Berrien Co. Jane Doe, hope to ID using DNA


NEW BUFFALO, Mich. (WOOD) — State police are exhuming a woman’s body that was found in 1988 along the New Buffalo breakwater, hoping new DNA and genealogy technology will finally help identify her.

Michigan State Police believe she was between the ages of 40 and 60, around 5-foot-5, 175 pounds with brown hair and eyes. She is thought to have been wearing a wig or braided extension.  

Investigators at the time said it was clear she had taken care of herself because she had pricey dental work and did not appear to smoke or drink excessively. She also had a hysterectomy.

Investigators exhumed her body Tuesday to collect DNA samples.

“Even though the cause of death was ruled to be drowning, we still don’t know the details of how that happened or where that happened. We kind of a have an idea of when, it’s several months. Someone is missing a mom, guaranteed,” said MSP Trooper John Moore.

State police are notifying investigators around Lake Michigan, hoping they will check their records for missing person cases from the 1980s.

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