Baltimore Police Department identified “Woodlawn Jane Doe” from a 1976 cold case when Margaret Fetterolf of Alexandria, Virginia, ran away from home in 1975 and her family hadn’t heard from her since.
After 45 years, police have identified ‘Woodlawn Jane Doe’, a woman who was found on the side of the road at a cemetery in Woodlawn, Maryland.
On Thursday, Baltimore police identified the woman as 16-year-old Margaret Fetterolf of Alexandria, Virginia.
Researchers used family DNA and genealogy sites, such as Ancestry.com, to link Fetterolf to the 1976 cold case, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Fetterolf’s body was found on September 12, 1976 after being strangled and sexually assaulted. She also had a sedative and antipsychotic chlorpromazine in her system.
Police say knowing Woodlawn Jane Doe’s identity brings them one step closer to finding her killer.
“This is so important. This is a really big breakthrough in the case,” said Baltimore County Police Cpl. said Dona Carter.
‘Because without knowing who she is or where she’s from, we really don’t have much to pay attention to. We need to know who she’s been with to get clues on this case.’
Fetterolf’s body was found on the side of the road near a cemetery in Woodlawn, Maryland on September 12, 1976. Investigators believe she was drugged, sexually assaulted, and strangled
Baltimore County agents head to Alexandria in an effort to continue their investigation.
Carter said they will attend Hayfield Secondary School, which Fetterolf attended at the time, and are interested in talking to her former friends and classmates.
A Police Sketch of ‘Woodlawn Jane Doe’
“We’re interested in talking to some of her classmates who may have known her, anyone who may have been friends with her, who can provide information that led to her death,” Carter said.
Police hope to find out more about the last months of her life.
Fetterolf’s brother, Edward Fetterolf, told the local TV station WCVB that his sister was a “regular runaway,” noting that the last time he saw her was when she ran away from home in 1975.
Edward said the family never knew why Fetterolf didn’t contact them.
“I always suspected the worst,” he said.
‘[Police] showed me a picture and I immediately knew it was her. It was a surprise after all this time and after there had been no news for so long.’
Edward added: ‘In my eyes she never grew up. So I remember her from the last time she ran away.’
Fetterolf was found dead on September 12, 1976 with the DNA of an unidentified man on her body, leading police to believe she had been sexually assaulted.
She was also found with her neck and hands tied.
Her face was covered in a yellow seed bag with an address from Waltham, Massachusetts, and two keys found in her bag were made in Fitchburg, about 50 miles outside of Boston.
Fetterolf was found wearing a leather necklace (left), a tattoo of the letters “JP” on her shoulder, and two brass keys made in Fitchburg, Massachusetts (right). Recent pollen samples taken from her have limited her location to Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum
This bag of grass seed was wrapped around her head, and the Waltham, Massachusetts stamp was one of the first indications that the victim had ties to the state of New England.
A tattoo of the letters ‘JP’ on her shoulder would also stand for ‘Jamaica Plain’, a neighborhood in the capital.
In 2015, a high-tech pollen revealed a unique blend of cedar and mountain hemlock trees, which are only found together in two locations in the country, on her clothing.
The analysis pointed to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, between the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods.
For years, as a result of the pollen evidence and other clues found at the scene, police believed that “Woodlawn Jane Doe” hailed from the Boston area.
“Virginia has only recently become an area of interest,” police spokeswoman Joy Stewart told the Baltimore Sun.
Anyone with information about the case is requested to contact Baltimore County Detectives at 410-307-2020.