Unidentified homicide victim could be Selma native

Published 9:53 am Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The body of an unidentified African-American woman from a 1976 homicide in Seneca, Illinois could be from Selma.

The Grundy County Coroner’s Office unveiled a cold case investigation from Oct. 2, 1976, where the body of a female was found in a ditch alongside U.S. Route 6 near Holderman Hill, a community near Seneca, Illinois.  The victim, estimated between the ages of 15 and 27, was shot in the head.

After being unidentified for a month, the victim was buried without her name, at an unmarked grave at the Braceville-Gardner Cemetery in Braceville, Illinois. She remained at cemetery until investigators from the Coroner’s Office exhumed her remains in December, 2018, to utilize modern-day Forensic Science and DNA techniques.

Since May, the Grundy County Coroner’s Office has worked with the DNA Doe Project, an organization that utilizes genetic genealogy to assist in identifying the unidentified. Over several months, the DNA Doe Project has successfully located a close match to Jane Seneca Doe.

The investigation revealed that Jane Seneca Doe was likely born between 1948 and 1960 and possibly went missing by October, 1976. Her parents may have come from Selma. One set of grandparents were from Selma. One of her grandparents was likely named Calhoun. One great-grandparent may have been named Harris. Her relatives might reside in Dallas County or Wilcox County and some may have relocated to Ohio.

Anyone with any information, which may lead to the identity of Jane Seneca Doe, contact Deputy Chief Coroner Brandon Johnson of the Grundy County Coroner’s Office at (815) 941-3359 or e-mail: bjohnson@grundyco.org.