Remains found in West Chester now have face


Anyone with information that may assist in identifying this woman should call West Chester Police at 513-759-7270 or the Butler County Coroner’s Office at 513-785-5860.


The woman found in West Chester woods is not the only unidentified person case currently at the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

On May 18, 1997, a man’s remains were found in the Great Miami River in Fairfield Twp. at the south end of Horseshoe Dam. He remains unidentified, but his information has also been entered since 2008 in NamUS.

The man is a white male approximately 30 to 60 years old, wearing Structure-brand cut-off blue jean shorts, white jockey shorts, a belt with a gold-colored buckle and a silver-colored necklace with black beads. The man would also have a scar on the inside edge of his right eye from an old facial injury.

Investigators now have a picture to accompany remains found earlier this year in West Chester Twp.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office said skeletal remains and a biological profile were used to generate the images of a woman found March 7 by children in a wooded area.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix said. “It does make it more personal. Glasses are just glasses, but looking at a face makes it about a person.”

The coroner said she is hopeful the image “sparks a memory or a recollection.”

On March 7, children found a skull in the woods behind their Gregory Creek Lane home in West Chester Twp. Rain and snow made finding additional remains difficult, Mannix said. But when the weather cleared, all of the woman’s remains were collected, along with other items believed to have belonged to her.

There were no forms of identification with or around the remains. It is believed the woman was in the West Chester Twp. area in late fall 2014, according to the coroner’s office.

“Jane Doe’s” facial reconstruction images, along with photos of her belongings, are now a part of NamUs (the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System), which is a national resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. It is a free online system that can be searched by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public.

“At this point, I can’t rule out foul play because we just don’t know what happened. The likelihood of finding out how she died is not good. But it is more important to find out who she is so that a family can have closure,” Mannix told the Journal-News last month.

If a positive ID is made, Mannix said that will also provide clues about her life that could lead to discovering what happened to her.

“You know, we think locally. But we have interstates, train tracks and a lot of other things that point to this not being a local,” she said.

After the remains were found, the coroner’s office developed a biological profile and determined the remains were those of a white woman between the ages of 35 and 60, who stood between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-9 inches tall.

Strands of hair, medium brown with some gray, were found with the skull. And the woman had full upper and lower dentures. She was wearing Faded Glory-brand jeans, size 12, and a medium white, short-sleeved, pullover shirt with red and blue horizontal stripes. Prescription glasses and reading glasses were also found near the woman’s skeletal remains.

Evidence collected in the densely wooded area also suggests the woman was wearing black SAS brand shoes, Mannix said.

That distinctive brand of shoe is popular among people who walk a lot or are on their feet all day at work, she said. The black SAS (San Antonio Shoemakers) lace-up shoes were so worn, a size could not be determined, Mannix said.

A black fanny pack, containing lip balm, a disposable lighter, a small Swiss Army knife and scissors, that is believed to have belonged to the woman, may also be a clue to her identity. The fanny pack was inside a blue denim tote bag.

The woman’s DNA, taken during a preliminary testing, has been run through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System with no hit returned. Additional, more detained DNA testing is underway at the University of North Texas, according to the coroner.

West Chester Police are assisting the coroner’s office with the investigation into “Jane Doe,” according to Chief Joel Herzog.

Anyone with information that may assist in identifying the woman can call the coroner’s office at 513-785-5860 or West Chester Twp. police at 513-759-7270.

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