Decades-Long Mystery Solved: Hunter's Discovery Reveals Missing Iowa Girl's Fate

Decades-Long Mystery Solved: Hunter’s Discovery Reveals Missing Iowa Girl’s Fate

Detectives have been able to connect the remains of a missing Iowa adolescent discovered in 1978 to a decades-old cold case.

The “Lincoln County Jane Doe” was discovered dead, according to the police, in 1978. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office claimed in a news release that the bones were discovered in the Mississippi River close to Elsberry, Missouri.

Following an examination, it was discovered that the deceased was a White woman, estimated to have been in her 30s to 40s, who had drowned.

According to the sheriff’s office, it was found that the bones had been in the river for almost four months.

About the remains, only a few information could be ascertained. The body was discovered with a tattoo that looked to say “Dee” and a cat’s eye ring on it, according to the authorities. However, efforts to identify the remains at the time were unsuccessful.

According to investigators, the remains were interred beneath a tombstone that said, “Lincoln County Jane Doe.”

The case information was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System in 2009.

Not until 2023 did authorities make a “pivotal breakthrough,” according to law enforcement. Following the exhumation of the buried remains, Southeast Missouri State University anthropology experts and students conducted analyses that revealed the body was that of a teenager, not the middle-aged woman as had been previously thought.

For DNA extraction, the university participants sent samples from the remains to Othram, a private DNA lab. The business was able to create a DNA profile from a little sample by using forensic-grade genome sequencing.

Following tests that verified a match between the bones and the relative, authorities were able to identify “Lincoln County Jane Doe” as 15-year-old Helen Renee Groomes, who had last been seen in her hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa.

Kevin Groomes expressed his “overwhelming joy” at his sister’s remains being identified to the local NBC News station, KSDK. Since then, the exhumed remains have been burned.

He informed KSDK that he had placed the “Del” tattoo on his sister. He said that was the name of her current partner.

“We are profoundly grateful to the teams at SEMO, Othram, and the Lincoln County Coroner’s Office for their invaluable contributions, which proved to be instrumental in finally solving this decades-old mystery and bringing closure to a grieving family,” Sheriff Rick Harrell of Lincoln County stated.

The sheriff’s office stated that an investigation into Groomes’ death and disappearance is still underway.