Unclaimed remains tell a story: The unknown

The cremains of Jane Doe 1995 as photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.
The cremains of Jane Doe 1995 as photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. dearley@islandpacket.com
Jane Doe

She was a young woman, left for dead in a Yemassee ditch in 1995.

A few days after her death, a groundskeeper discovered her body, wearing only underwear on a remote, swampy stretch of Cottonhall Road.

Police believe she was killed by asphyxiation by a man in a personal attack.

At first, dozens of tips pored in about who she might be and why she was killed. But the trail soon went cold.

While her body was badly decomposed, investigators were able to determine that she was in her early 30s. They pulled a full set of fingerprints. Her teeth were intact, allowing for a search of dental records.

But no matches were found.

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The only clues to her identity were double-pierced ears and two scars, one from a hysterectomy and another from a thyroid surgery.

A DNA analysis suggested that she came to the U.S. from Latin America.

While many of the Hispanics in the county were migrant workers, investigators saw little evidence that the woman was a laborer because her hands and feet were smooth.

There is still an effort to find her attacker -- and her family. Somewhere out there, investigators know a family wonders what happened to this young woman, said Capt. Bob Bromage of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

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In 2010 investigators made another push to publicize the case. A new round of tips came in after a Spanish-language news show on the Univision network covered the story.

But again they all led nowhere.

"So many families have relatives that never come back after coming to America," Bromage said. "They may never know what happens to them. But we can see from this woman's surgeries that said she was well cared for, there is probably someone out there wondering where she is."

The woman's remains were cremated and packed in a box marked "Jane Doe." It sits in the stack at the coroner's office.

Unclaimed remains tell a story: