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Reveal: Update – The mystery of Mountain Jane Doe

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm by , in Featured, Reveal

UPDATE, Aug. 12, 2017: In April, we shined a light on the nearly five decade-old case of an unidentified homicide victim who became known as Mountain Jane Doe. Her story is one of more than 11,000 in a national database of unidentified dead. There are no national laws requiring coroners or law enforcement to use the database, and as a result, cases fall through the cracks and family members are left in the dark about their loved ones. Today, we bring you the latest in Mountain Jane Doe’s case. Image: Michael I Schiller/Reveal

In the summer of 1969, a young woman was found dead off a remote mountain trail in Harlan, Kentucky. She’d been stabbed multiple times. Her identity was a mystery, so locals referred to her as Mountain Jane Doe. Decades later, a woman from the area takes up the cause of identifying the murdered woman, and her quest for answers leads investigators to a hillside grave and a DNA lab, bringing some long-awaited answers.

The exhumation leads to a series of unexpected revelations about who she was and why she might have been killed. Her case speaks to the complexity – and importance – of opening cold cases and using DNA science to try to solve them.

But as one mystery is solved, another remains unanswered: Who killed her? Reveal producer Michael I Schiller introduces us to a daughter who never knew her mom and who’s now determined to find the person who killed her, even if it means confronting some dark family secrets.

Reveal is a weekly radio program produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. For more, check out our website and subscribe to our podcast.