A 1982 homicide is again under investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re hoping that technology now will give us some help that the deputies and the detectives back in 1982 didn’t have back then,” said Sheriff Dennis Richards.
A woman’s skeletal remains were found May 8, 1982, by a passer-by on a rural town of Caledonia road. Investigators determined she died from blunt force trauma to the head.
She was found about 60 feet off Petra Road in the town of Caledonia, between Konkel and Blacklock roads near Highway 78, according to Richards.
There were no reports of a missing woman in southern Wisconsin at the time. The location is close to the interstate system and is easily accessible to any one passing through.
“They believed back in 1982 that it’s very possible that this person was just dumped there and not killed there,” Richards said.
Investigators don’t know how long the woman had been there, but believe it was within a year of her being discovered. While a reconstruction of her face was done by experts at the time, they do not know the color of her hair, skin or eyes.
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“There are so many unknowns in this case,” said Detective Lt. Roger Brandner.
A review at the time by an anthropologist determined that the woman was about 5 feet 6 inches tall, between 45 and 60 years old, and had likely given birth. There is an 80 percent likelihood that the woman was Caucasian. She was found wearing size 12 brown pants.
An investigation at the time turned up no information about the woman. She was buried Sept. 1, 1987, in Wyocena, as a Jane Doe.
“With everything that they did back then, nobody was able to identify her,” Richards said.
With the case reopened, the woman’s body was exhumed April 21 for further examination. Her DNA was sent for analysis to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory in Quantico, Va., where they will compare the woman’s DNA with missing persons in the Combined DNA Index System.
Brandner said they hope to have a report within about three months.
Richards is hoping that anyone will call who has a mother, grandmother or great-grandmother missing since about 1981; she would today be 70 to 90 years old.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Sgt. A.J. Agnew at 742-4166 x3318 or Columbia County Crime Stoppers at 800-293-8477. Tips also can be submitted via email or text by visiting www.co.columbia.wi.us, or by texting the word “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword “TIPCOSO.” Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward.
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