Was this Racine County Jane Doe—found dead in 1999 in a Raymond corn field—originally from Eastern Europe and only a recent arrival to the U.S.?
Whether or not she was is one question investigators of this cold case continue to ponder. Unfortunately, unless they disinter her body, the tests can't be run to determine whether or not she could have been from a former Soviet bloc country.
"We talked about it at the time, but the tests are expensive," said Racine County Medical Examiner Tom Terry. "Now, the girl's jaw bones are no longer viable so the only way we can run these tests is to disinter her body."
A man out walking his dog in July 1999 discovered her body in a Raymond cornfield. According to a story from The Journal Times, in the weeks before her death, the young woman suffered blunt force trauma to much of her body, was malnourished and showed signs of being sexually abused. Her left ear was battered, commonly referred to as cauliflower ear.
Investigators then could find no clue to the girl's identity, but retired Detective Eileen Reilly, who led the search for clues about who Jane Doe was, said she thought the young woman could possibly be from another country.
She told The Journal Times last year that during the height of the investigation, she hired a caregiver for her mother who was not a U.S. citizen.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently released an updated reconstruction of what Jane Doe may have looked like. She is described as being white, between the ages of 18 and 30, 5-foot-8, 120 pounds with brown hair and brown or hazel eyes. Both of her ears were double-pierced and she did not appear to have any scars or tattoos.
Lt. Steve Sikora, a spokesperson for the Racine County Sheriff's Department, told Patch last week there are no plans to exhume the young woman's body, but since the new rendering was released, Racine County Sheriff's Investigators Tom Knaus and Tracy Hintz have received a number of new leads.
"We are following each and every lead possible," Knaus said. "As you can imagine, new leads are coming in now with the release of this updated image of what Jane Doe may have looked like."
Patch has also spoken about the case with representatives from the Milwaukee office of the FBI since human traffickers used O'Hare International Airport as a transportation hub. According to the website enddemandillinois.org Chicago's central location makes the airport a target destination for traffickers. That site's goal is to reduce the demand for the sex trade by "shifting law enforcement's attention to sex traffickers and people who buy sex, while proposing a network of support for survivors of the sex trade."
Chicago's central geographic location, regionally divided and often insular ethnic communities, transportation infrastructure, and the O'Hare International Airport make the city an ideal location for traffickers to bring victims into Illinois and transport them to other cities and states.
Or, perhaps Jane Doe arrived in U.S. as an au pair who met up with the wrong people. Au Pair in America stated in 1999 that demand for au pairs from Eastern Europe—Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic—was strong and growing.
Updates on the case are available on the Jane Doe Racine County Facebook page. If anyone has any information, they are encouraged to call Racine County investigators Tom Knaus at (262) 636-3367) or Tracy Hintz at (262) 636-3190.
Anonymous tips can also be left with Crime Stoppers of Racine County at 1-888-636-9330, email: http://racine.crimestoppersweb.com, or text message: RACS to 274637(CRIMES).