Boone County chilly case update

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. — After approximately 30 yrs, a girl found useless alongside I-65 in Boone County ultimately has a identify.

On Wednesday, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office environment provided an update on the case of a human being discovered lifeless on the side of I-65 in 1992. The human being was thought to be strangled, but it was challenging to determine the lead to of dying.

The business recognized Jane Doe as 17-12 months-aged Margaret Ann Sniegowski Jr. DNA proof lead law enforcement to her family associates to supply some closure to their decline.

The case has now transitioned from striving to identify the entire body to a murder investigation, trying to figure out who killed the lady and dumped her entire body.

Finding Jane Doe

In the case, Don Lawson, an off-responsibility firefighter plowing his area, seen a physique face down in a number of inches of water in the drainage ditch. Sheriff deputies established the female had been in the ditch for practically a week, terribly deteriorating the physique.

Lawson attended the sheriff’s press meeting and said he much too is relieved the victim has been determined.

“Now I know who Jane Doe is.  She’s not just a person I observed.  She’s someone’s loved ones member,” mentioned Lawson.

The Indianapolis Star documented the girl was considered to be between 20 and 40 many years old. She was somewhere around 5’6″ tall and was carrying a yellow halter leading and eco-friendly anklet socks. She had reddish-brown hair and numerous tattoos, like a cross with hearts and the term like on her upper body and just one of the phrase “mom” on her correct arm, and a cross on her ideal hand.

1992 Indianapolis Star report clipping

Buried, but not neglected

The lady was buried in a pauper’s grave around the Boone County Sheriff’s Place of work with a momentary marker of “unidentified female” marking what would be her resting spot. Many customers of the Lebanon local community attended, with law enforcement acting as the pallbearers.

She would not stay in the ground for extensive, nonetheless. In excess of the years, initiatives have been created to bring new daily life to the circumstance.

Offering Jane Doe a experience

A November 1993 report from the Indianapolis Star reviews that the sheriff at the time, alongside with a detective, was at a seminar at Michigan Condition College exactly where they discovered of the most recent reconstruction methods of the time.

The business was capable to get a courtroom get to exhume her human body to remove the cranium and pelvic bone. The pelvic bone would be applied to assistance professionals decide her age. The cranium was cleaned and introduced to Michigan where by a lab technician and forensic pathologist examined and attempted to reconstruct the encounter.

“DNA wasn’t even close to so I feel the greatest considered they experienced was to get a physical description of the woman, to get that pushed out to see if everyone recognized her,” Lt. Jason Reynolds with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said.

At the time, the place of work dispersed fliers with the reconstruction picture, hoping a person would identify the target. The sheriff also pointed out the enamel had intensive dental do the job.

“Some dentist’s business office somewhere in this state has received those dental records,” then-Sheriff Ern Hudson advised the Indianapolis Star, “So if we could get a suggestion or guide on her identification, we may well be capable to get a optimistic ID if we understood in which to seem.”

That lead never ever came.

A fresh glimpse at the investigation

The continues to be ended up buried yet again in the pauper’s grave right until, two a long time later on, she was exhumed again to acquire extra proof.

“It’s normally haunted me,” Sheriff Mike Nielsen informed the Indianapolis Star, “the disrespect of whoever did this to throw her like a piece of trash and, 2nd, that we’ve by no means been in a position to identify her.”

The 1993 sculpture, alongside with the woman’s body, were delivered to the University of Indianapolis for a contemporary just take on the investigation.

A workforce from the Archeology and Forensics Laboratory executed a forensic anthropology examination. The workforce was on the lookout to see if they could discover any indicators of the result in of death for her bones.

Afterwards that 12 months, Crime Observe Day by day picked up the tale when exams out of the College of Indianapolis indicated that the girl was from the Southwest region of the United States.

In 2018, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office tried yet again to use the hottest systems to put a experience to the sufferer. Using forensic artists, they had been able to generate new facial reconstruction images. Once more, the office hoped a person would acknowledge her.

“This scenario has haunted this office for around two many years. We desperately want to remedy this terrible crime,” Sheriff Nielsen said in a 2018 Fb publish. “We owe it to Jane Doe and her household. We will never ever overlook Jane Doe.”

Yet again, the situation would continue on to haunt them.

DNA evidence gives Jane Doe a title

In 2021, the Boone County Sheriff’s Business was equipped to collect adequate DNA from the bones to obtain a DNA profile. A identical genealogical investigation has aided crack a number of situations, such as a 1988 cold scenario in Fort Wayne. In that circumstance, police used what is named familial DNA testing, which analyzes DNA samples with public genealogy info.

Investigators uploaded the DNA profile to the forensic genetic genealogy database in September and have been in a position to make a likely identification from that process by November. They investigated the identify, foremost them to a opportunity brother and sister of Jane Doe. Tests from all those siblings last but not least enable the office environment ensure the human body to be Margaret Ann Sniegowski Jr.

“It’s been 30 many years since I have noticed Maggie,” claimed the victim’s brother Lenny Sniegowski. “It’s just a single fewer issue to fear about.  All that is long gone now.”

For his part, Margaret’s brother hopes the circumstance gives convenience to other families as very well.

“There’s hope out there for persons who really don’t know wherever their family members associates could possibly be.  I’m living evidence,” explained Lenny.

Ending just one stage, starting another

Sheriff Mike Nielsen flew down to Texas a couple weeks in advance of Wednesday to enable Margaret’s relatives know they realized what happened to her. In an office, Leonard Sniegowski Jr. sat conducting his enterprise.

When Sheriff Nielsen showed up in entrance of Leonard’s glass doorway showing his badge, he was not sure what to imagine.

“I listen to the knock and I seem and locations with the badge and he’s a giant of a male and I mentioned, properly, this is it,” Leonard reported. “I do not know what I did, but it is I’m caught.”

Sheriff Nielsen was in a position to sit down with Leonard to give the closure he had not experienced for the past 30 years. They sat with each other and cried before obtaining ready for what would appear up coming.

“We designed a promise 30 several years back that we would locate out who she was,” explained Sheriff Nielsen. “We held that promise and we will keep the promise relocating ahead that we will find out who’s accountable and we will carry them to justice together with the prosecutor and most people else.”

The business is now conducting a forensic review to make absolutely sure what was investigated in the past matches the science currently. They hope this discovery in the circumstance gives persons the commitment to post their very own DNA in hopes it will support deliver a different family members some closure.

“If you believe there is a likelihood that anyone nonetheless alive, or probably died a extended time back and you just never know about it, then do this. Go submit your DNA, place it into that database, and enable solve these crimes and I feel with the technological innovation and the companies that we partnered with now, it’s actually a good functioning natural environment to be able to move ahead and solve other crimes as effectively,” mentioned Sheriff Nielsen.

Everyone with facts is asked to connect with 1-800-THE-Dropped or the Boone County Sheriff’s Office environment at (765)482-1412.