Fond du Lac County’s Jane Doe identified as Illinois woman
FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - After 13 years, Fond du Lac County’s Jane Doe has been positively identified.
Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt says the remains found by hunters in 2008 were Amy Marie Yeary from Rockford, Illinois. She was 18 when she died; her body was found about two weeks before her 19th birthday.
“We have always remained optimistic that someday we would be able to identify Jane Doe, and that is why this case has continuously been assigned to detectives since the investigation began,” said Sheriff Waldschmidt during a news conference on the 13 year anniversary of the remains being found.
Yeary’s body was exhumed from a Fond du Lac County cemetery in 2018 for forensic testing that wasn’t available a decade earlier. Those test results, along with help from a national genealogy expert, narrowed down potential family members. According to Waldschmidt, “She was positively identified using three different means: comparison of DNA from her mother, comparison of DNA from her sister, and a comparison dental X-rays.”
Yeary’s mother told investigators her last contact, with her daughter, was in late summer of 2008. Teen called her mother, said she was in Beloit and asked if she could have a ride home. Her mother wasn’t able to arrange a ride. Waldschmidt says, “While no official missing person report was ever filed, Amy’s family continued their own search, hoping to eventually make contact with her.”
Authorities has learned Yeary was a victim of human sex trafficking. She was often transient and stayed in the Milwaukee, Chicago and Beloit areas in the weeks before her death.
The investigation now focuses on the circumstances of her death with Waldschmidt adding, “Identifying Amy Yeary is a big step in this complex and very active investigation, however there is still much work that needs to be done to determine how and why she lost her life. As advancements in DNA, genetic genealogy and forensic testing continue to evolve, we await results of additional tests currently being performed at forensic laboratories and are hopeful new evidence can be identified.”
The sheriff and detectives who were on-hand did not answer any questions after an 8-minute news conference, saying the didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the investigation.
The sheriff’s office wants to hear from anyone who has information about Yeary in 2008 and the time leading up to the discovery of her body. Anyone with information, no matter how minor it might seem, is asked to call Detective Murphy, (920) 929-3380, or leave a message anonymously with the Fond du lac County Law Enforcement Tip Line, (920) 906-4777.
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