On May 10, 1950 at around 4:00 pm, Benjamin Mills was mushroom hunting along an abandoned portion of Old US Route 522 near Berkeley Springs, West Virginia when he happened to glance over the embankment and see a head full of curly, red hair. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that he was looking at a body, and he quickly ran to the Sheriff’s office to alert them of his discovery.
As detectives arrived, they found the nude body of a white female, laying partially under a fence. She was scratched up and muddy which lead authorities to believe that she had been dragged through the hedges that surrounded the area she was located. Despite her being nude there was no signs of sexual assault, however there were markings around her throat suggesting that a garrote had been used to strangle her. Upon further examination it was discovered that she had also sustained blunt force trauma to the head and her neck was broken.
She is believed to have been between 35 and 50 years old, her hair was red and permed, she stood around 5’5 and weighed between 120 and 130 lbs. She had several scars, a Y shaped scar on the outside of her right wrist that was around 3 inches long, a W shaped scar in the center of her forehead, a 10 inch hysterectomy scar and a 4 inch appendectomy scar. Her hands were noted to be very small, with freckles covering their backs and up her arms and she wore a size 4.5 narrow shoe.
Initially the police had what they thought were promising leads. A few people identified Morgan County Jane Doe as a lady that they had seen riding a bus from Ohio. Police followed that lead, it was unsuccessful. They followed the leads that came later, but those didn’t provide any answers either. Detectives in Pennsylvania believe that Jane’s murder could be related to the unsolved homicide of Betty Jane Kennedy, but the link was never substantiated.
In 2007 her body was exhumed to extract DNA samples, and then she was re-interred in an unmarked grave, in a potter’s field.
If you think you may know the identity of Morgan County Jane Doe, please contact the West Virginia Police at 304-258-0000.