On Sunday morning, September 25, 1988, a man looking for cypress lumber in a wooded, marshy area in Lake County, Florida came across a woman’s body. It is likely that she was dragged to the location she was discovered, possibly from the side of the road. The woman had been deceased for many
Jane Doe’s nearly skeletonized remains were taken to the C. A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory (CAPHIL), a part of the University of Florida’s Department of Anthropology. There, world-famous forensic anthropologist Dr. William Maples performed an examination. At the time she was found, Dr. Maples was also conducting an analysis of the remains of Spanish explorer Francisco Pizzaro, and the “Elephant Man,” Joseph Merrick. Jane Doe’s remains were in the best possible hands at the time for a thorough and
Her skeleton has been at
Following the revelation of this Jane Doe being transgender, she received two things: her nickname, and a second artistic reconstruction. Her nickname, “Julie,” was given to her by forensic students who were studying her skeleton. They were inspired by the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar. Her second artistic reconstruction was done by forensic artist and Detective Stephen Fusco of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Fusco, who is now retired, says he does not remember this case in particular. His renderings are generally considered to be of extremely high quality, and Julie’s drawing was no exception. Many Jane and John Does do not get the kind of care and attention that Mr. Fusco gave each of his drawings, and we would like to thank him again for this reconstruction.
In early summer 2018, the decision was made to conduct more tests on Julie Doe, this time at the FL Institute of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science at the University of South Florida. Her skull was sent from Gainesville to Tampa so that samples could be taken for isotope analysis.
Shortly thereafter, Julie’s case was taken on by the DNA Doe Project, a non-profit organization that utilizes forensic genealogy to identify John and Jane
It was at this point that the Trans Doe Task Force was conceived to help the DNA Doe Project with Julie and any other transgender cases. We at the TDTF began our efforts to engage the public and especially the LGBT community about Julie’s story. We began to receive inquiries about how to donate towards
By mid-November, a course of action regarding lab work was plotted, and the DNA Doe Project set up Julie’s DoeFundMe fundraiser. The TDTF signal boosted this fundraiser on social media, and she was over-funded in under 48 hours. To quote DDP’s website, “Julie Doe is now fully funded for her next round of extraction. Thank you to the Dyer Family Foundation for their generous contribution that allowed us to set up the matching fund. Thank you to all of our generous supporters who donated and shared her link. It has been less than two days since her DoeFundMe launched, making this one of the fastest fundraisers we’ve had yet!” The DDP has stated that the overflow from Julie’s fundraiser will be reserved in case she needs a fourth round, and if she does not, it will roll over into funding for the next transgender case that the TDTF is able to get into the hands of the DDP.
Presently, the third round of extraction is being conducted. According to Dr. Press, “She is currently at DNA Solutions. They are doing additional extraction from bone and will then use their micro-array technology to produce a file for us. We have insufficient extract for WGS [whole genome sequencing] so are trying this route for cases like hers where the DNA is of low quantity. We previously tried two extractions at Bode Cellmark from bones, but did not get sufficient quantities. Each attempt can take a couple months, so it has been a very slow process.” Meanwhile, her isotope analysis has come in from USF, showing that she was likely from the south Florida area.
While we are waiting to see how the third extraction goes, we are overjoyed to share with you an amazing new depiction of Julie Doe by renowned forensic artist Carl Koppelman. We would like to thank Carl for this beautiful image.
Please follow the DNA Doe Project, the Trans Doe Task Force, and Julie Doe on Facebook for future updates as this case progresses. Thank you to all of the people who have contributed to keeping Julie’s case moving forward, including the DDP, law enforcement, forensic scientists, teachers and students, online cold case sleuths, and journalists. Together, we can uncover her true identity and finally lay her to rest.
By Lee and Anthony Redgrave