Jackson County John Doe
The state of Wisconsin seems to have a disproportionate number of dismembered victims. One theory behind this strange phenomenon is the people in Wisconsin like to hunt and therefore are more familiar and comfortable dissecting a once living creature. While a lot of people in Wisconsin love their hunting, hunting is an activity that is cherished all over the United States and is certainly not limited to the Mid-West. Going back through news archives, the oldest dismembered victim I could find is that of the Jackson County John Doe discovered in 1978.
On August 15, 1978 the sheriff’s office received a call notifying them to the discovery of remains in the township of Knapp, near the Village of Warrens, Wisconsin. The remains were found in a remote-wooded area by loggers who were working on the land. When law enforcement arrived and surveyed the scene, it was clear much of the skeletal remains were missing as only a skull, lower mandible, and vertebra were ever recovered. There was also a silver-colored ‘Medi-Stud’ brand earring discovered near the remains. This type of earring is believed to be used by piercing salons. The police were hopeful at first that the earring could be traced but nothing has come from this lead. It is believed, John Doe had an ear pierced but which ear is unknown.
Once the few remains that were found were successfully recovered, the medical examiner was able to perform a limited autopsy. They were able to conclude John Doe had been between the ages of 28 and 52. He had been a white male. Obviously, height and weight could not be estimated. It is believed John Doe’s skull was in the woods for at least a few months but could’ve been up to 4 years. The manner of death is listed as a ‘Presumed Homicide’.
The remainder of remains have never been located. Recently, the Sheriff’s office reached out to organizations such as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and the University of Northern Texas center for Human Identification (UNT) and requested an anthropological report of the remains. The request was granted and the report was conducted. The specialists agreed with the original findings but were able to create a computer-generated forensic reconstruction. It is noted the image is the artist’s rendition depicting how the victim may have looked in 1978 as the hair color, hairstyle, eye color, facial hair preference, and whether the victim wore eyeglasses are all unknown. To this day, the victim remains unidentified and the remainder of the remains go un-discovered.
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