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Remains of a woman found in southern Illinois nearly 30 years ago are identified

Ina Jane Doe.jpg
Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.
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The remains of a woman discovered 29 years ago in Jefferson County have now been identified.

The Jefferson County Illinois Sheriff’s Office and Redgrave Research Forensic Services said Friday the identity of “Ina Jane Doe,” is a woman named Susan Lund.

Lund was last seen by her family on Christmas Eve 1992 when she reportedly left her family home in Clarksville, Tennessee to walk to a local grocery store. Her husband reported her missing soon after. A multi-agency search was conducted over several months. The official missing persons case was closed, but Lund’s family did not stop looking for her.

In January 1993, near Ina, the head of a white female was discovered on the side of a wooded roadway within Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park.

The original anthropological analysis estimated that the victim was between 30 and 50 years of age, and may have had torticollis or “wry neck syndrome,” a condition that may have caused her head to have a sideways tilt during life.

The original forensic images of the deceased woman illustrated this condition to an extreme degree.

In February 2021, Dr. Amy Michael (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire) approached Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to offer a reexamination of the case using updated forensic methods. Writer and researcher Laurah Norton collaborated with Dr. Michael on the reanalysis and archival research. It was determined that the woman likely did not appear significantly asymmetrical during life.

Following Dr. Michael’s reanalysis, a new forensic image was created by artist Carl Koppelman. “As forensic methods are updated and refined, it is critical to reevaluate cold cases and utilize new approaches, like forensic genetic genealogy, alongside anthropology to achieve identification,” says Dr. Michael.

Simultaneous to this new analysis, samples from Ina Jane Doe’s remains were sent to Astrea Forensics, a laboratory in Santa Cruz, California, for the purpose of creating a DNA profile suitable for utilizing forensic genetic genealogy.

A DNA profile was provided to Redgrave Research Forensic Services, a genealogy company in Massachusetts, who then uploaded the data file to GEDmatch on February 3, 2022.

Anthony Redgrave, co-founder of Redgrave Research, says “my team was honored to be brought in as part of the collaboration to identify this woman, and had Susan’s family in mind long before we discovered her name.”

Redgrave’s genealogy team arrived at a potential match within a day of beginning to research the DNA matches. The potential ID was passed to law enforcement who then followed up with family members of Susan Lund.

A confirmatory DNA sample was provided by a sibling for direct comparison to Ina Jane Doe. On March 6, 2022 it was confirmed via one-to-one comparison that the identity of Ina Jane Doe is Susan Lund.