This case was brought to my attention by someone who stumbled upon Our Black Girls. It’s a peculiar case, to say the least, because while there is a postmortem photo available, no one has claimed to know this unidentified young woman since she was found on Easter Sunday in 1981 in Calumet City, Illinois. For identification purposes, I will refer to her as “Calumet City Jane Doe” throughout this article.
Details about Calumet City Jane Doe are scarce. It has been reported by The Doe Network that she was located on April 19, 1981, about 15 feet off of a jogging path in Wentworth Woods. Investigators surmised that she had been there less than 24 hours. All of her remains were recovered, simply meaning that her body was intact. Additionally, The Doe Network lists Calumet City Jane Doe as “unrecognizable” due to the state of decomposition, but the photo taken of her face seems clear enough for someone to recognize who she was. The outlet also claims that her cause of death is “unknown,” but a newspaper clipping from April 23, 1981—just days after she was found—reports her death as murder by strangulation.
In all of these years, no one has come forward to say that they knew who this girl was. Even in the newspaper report from 1981, investigators were dumbfounded that they’d received no calls about identifying Calumet City Jane Doe. Police also theorized that she was killed at a separate location and later dumped in the wooded area. Where Calumet City Jane Doe was found is right on the line between Illinois and Indiana, just a mile away from the latter’s Hammond High [School]. She may have been killed in one state and her remains left in another to divert authorities.
At the time of her death, Calumet City Jane Doe was measured at 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds. She had short black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. She’s believed to be in her mid-teens to early twenties, somewhere between 16 to 20-years-old, specifically. The only distinguishing mark listed was a scar on her right knee. Calumet City Jane Doe was found wearing a “white v-neck pull-over sweater, blue jeans, and a white bra.” It wasn’t noted if there were any personal items or jewelry found with her body. Her fingerprints and her dental records are available for identification purposes, but it is unknown if her DNA is on file.
Anyone with information about this mysterious case is urged to contact the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at 708-865-4700 or their local authorities.
Please share this story about Calumet City Jane Doe in hopes of reigniting the investigation into this decades-old case and to help identify her after all these years. She is our sister and her life matters.