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Local

Grundy cold case subject of true crime podcast

Episode interviews local investigators, available Feb. 10

Sketch of Jane Seneca Doe
Sketch of Jane Seneca Doe

MORRIS – A Grundy County cold case is getting some digital attention. On Feb. 10, "The Vanished" podcast will release an episode on the Jane Seneca Doe case, an unsolved missing person case from more than 40 years ago.

“We are very excited and grateful that the [vanished] has chosen to feature our case. This is an excellent opportunity to get our case out to millions of listeners,” Deputy Coroner Brandon Johnson said. Johnson has been the lead investigator in the county's only cold case.

The quest to identify the woman has gone increasingly to the internet in the past 18 months. A Facebook page devoted to helping identify the woman, @grundycountycoldcase, posts updates on the case and other cold cases that have been solved.

On Oct. 2, 1976, the woman was found in a roadside ditch along Route 6, near Seneca and the La Salle County border. She had been shot in the back of the head and left there.

She remained unidentified, and, when she was buried on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, the only attendants were then-Coroner James Reeves and a representative from the cemetery.

The Grundy County Coroner's Office has been working to identify the woman.

"It's been something that's always bothered me," Grundy County Coroner John Callahan has said. "The fact that we have in my jurisdiction someone never identified .... I would do back flips to be able to solve it."

The office has received tips from across the country, which Johnson said was helpful because the woman was most likely not local. There was a promising tip from a woman in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, who thought Jane Doe might be her daughter, but DNA testing was not a match.

The podcast will help the case reach a wider audience.

“This helps get the epidemic of the missing and unidentified out to the public and bring awareness to the issue at-hand.” Johnson said.

The episode, titled “Jane Doe,” will be the podcast’s first ever episode on an unidentified person and will inform the listeners of the difficulties investigators face when working cold cases, especially unidentified persons, according to a press release.

“The Vanished Podcast” was created in 2016 by Marissa Jones, who was frustrated with the lack of coverage in missing persons cases. The podcast airs new episodes of cases weekly and is currently approaching episode 160.

The episode will feature Johnson and Callahan.

Jane Seneca Doe will not be the first Illinois case the podcast has covered. Most recently, they featured the story of retired Andrew High School teacher Daniel Jarski, who went missing from his Grant Park home on Sept. 9, 2018, and was discovered dead two months later.

"The Vanished" podcast will be available to listen at 6 p.m. Feb. 10. It will be available on iTunes and Google Play or at thevanishedpodcast.com.

The investigation is ongoing. The public can learn more about the case by visiting the Facebook page and on Instagram, grundycountycoldcase.

Anyone with information that could lead to the woman's identity is urged to contact Johnson at 815-941-3359 or by email at bjohnson@grundyco.org.

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