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Tooth of woman found dead 10 years ago helps create new image of her, CA cops say

A decade ago, a woman was found dead at a rural California park.

Despite an ongoing investigation, the woman’s identity has remained a mystery, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said in a Feb. 29 news release.

Now, deputies have released an “updated forensic rendering” of the woman in hopes someone may recognize her.

The new image was created using a genetic profile derived from DNA taken from the woman’s tooth, deputies said.

When the woman was found in San Juan Capistrano at Caspers Wilderness Park in 2014, deputies said investigators believed she had been there for about six months.

The woman had no identification, but she was found with a “dark-blue jacket with a volleyball or water polo logo on the left chest, and ‘Coach Williams’ on the right chest, according to deputies.

The woman was found with a “dark-blue jacket with a volleyball or water polo logo on the left chest, and ‘Coach Williams’ on the right chest.”
The woman was found with a “dark-blue jacket with a volleyball or water polo logo on the left chest, and ‘Coach Williams’ on the right chest.”

The woman, who had possibly broken her nose in her lifetime, had a “very distinct gold-colored dental bridge on her lower left jaw,” deputies said.

Testing showed the woman was at least 30 years old with “shoulder-length wavy dark brown hair with light-colored highlights,” deputies said.

Using a CT scan of the woman’s skull, deputies said in 2016 a forensic artist completed a rendering of the woman.

Using a CT scan of the woman’s skull, deputies said in 2016 a forensic artist completed a rendering of the woman.
Using a CT scan of the woman’s skull, deputies said in 2016 a forensic artist completed a rendering of the woman.

Then, in 2020, investigators tried to create a genetic profile of the woman using her DNA, deputies said.

However, deputies said these efforts failed.

Deputies said three years later they partnered with Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center to again try to create a genetic profile “using a DNA sample from Jane Doe’s tooth.”

This time, it was successful, deputies said.

A forensic artist used this profile, which showed the woman was of Latin American descent, to create an updated rendering, according to deputies.

Deputies said students from Ramapo College’s IGG program will be investigating the case using investigative genetic genealogy.

Genetic genealogy uses DNA testing coupled with “traditional genealogical methods” to create “family history profiles,” according to the Library of Congress. With genealogical DNA testing, researchers can determine if and how people are biologically related.

Anyone who recognizes the woman or may have information about her case is asked to contact deputies at 714-647-4579 or email coldcase@ocsheriff.gov.

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