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Jane Seneca Doe October 2, 1976 Seneca, Grundy County, Illinois

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

JANE SENECA DOE On October 2, 1976, the nude body of an unidentified African-American female, was discovered in a ditch by an area-farmer and his young granddaughter near Seneca, Illinois. The victim had been shot in the head, and a multi-colored cardigan-type knit sweater was wrapped around her head, as well as a black plastic bag.

At the time of her death, the victim was estimated to have been deceased for less than twenty-four-hours and was also estimated to be between 18-23 years of age. The case was investigated by the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office and the Grundy County Coroner’s Office, who attempted to seek her identity for over a month, which included running a picture of the female in local newspapers. After negative results, on Thanksgiving Day, Jane Seneca Doe was buried in an unmarked grave at the Braceville-Gardner Cemetery in Braceville, Illinois. The only attendees present were then-Coroner Leo Reeves and a cemetery worker. The case went cold, which it would remain for forty-years. In 2017, The Grundy County Coroner’s Office reopened the case, in the hopes of using technology and modern day Forensic Science techniques.

Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson spent a lot of time sifting through old case files, entering the victim into NamUs (National Missing & Unidentified Persons System,) and searching various missing person databases across the country. As the year went by, Johnson enlisted the help of NamUs, NCMEC (The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children,) as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s VICAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) unit, also obtaining numerous artist-rendered images of how Jane Seneca Doe may have appeared in life. With the advancement of DNA, the next step was to exhume Jane’s remains. On December 18, 2018, the Grundy County Coroner’s Office exhumed the remains. A Forensic Odontologist performed a dental assessment on the victim and now estimated that Jane was between 15-27 years of age at her death.

Weeks later the victim’s Femur and Mandible were submitted to the University of North Texas Center For Human Identification, who months later successfully developed a full female DNA profile. The DNA was entered into CODIS (Combined Index DNA System,) where a search was underway to match against other samples throughout the country. In June of 2019, after months of negative DNA comparisons, Johnson enlisted the help of the DNA Doe Project, a California-based organization, which uses genealogical genealogy to identify the unidentified.

The DNA Doe Project remained hard at work, eventually locating a close-match of a family member in Alabama. Further efforts to identify Jane Seneca Doe are underway, however this is what is known: Jane was likely born between 1948 and 1960. Her parents may have come from Selma, Alabama and one set of grandparents were from Selma, Alabama. One of her grandparent’s was likely named Calhoun. One great-grandparent may have been named Harris. Other possible relatives may reside in Dallas County or Wilcox County, Alabama. At least one branch of Jane’s family moved to Ohio. It is likely that Jane has siblings that are unaware of her existence. Anyone with any information, which may lead to the identity of Jane Seneca Doe, is urged to contact Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson of the Grundy County Coroner’s Office at 815-941-3359 or e-mail: Additional information on this case is available on the case Facebook page:



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