The Vernon County Sheriff's Department Seeks Public's Help As It Investigates a Cold Case Homicide

May 3 2012
The Vernon County Sheriff's Department Seeks Public's Help As It Investigates a Cold Case Homicide


“Jane Doe” was discovered deceased May 4, 1984.


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that the Vernon County Sheriff's Department is working with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Cold Case Unit to identify “Jane Doe” and bring her killer to justice. “Jane Doe” was found murdered off of Old Line Road in Vernon County 28 years ago.


Throughout the decades, more than 400 leads about missing women have been investigated in hopes of identifying “Jane Doe,” and the case has been widely circulated among law enforcement but has remained unsolved. Retired Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Hanson, who was a patrol deputy at the time, responded to the scene late in the evening May 4, 1984. Today, under the direction of Sheriff John Spears, the now-retired Hanson is actively working the cold case for Vernon County.


Sheriff John Spears said, “We hope that finding the true identity of Jane Doe by using the forensic sciences of today -- that were not developed in 1984 -- may lead to her killer. She was a living, breathing person, likely someone's daughter, neighbor, or customer with her own identity and life story, whose life was left at a roadside following a brutal murder.”


“Many investigators have worked tirelessly to find justice for this woman throughout the years. This renewed effort should serve as a reminder to anyone looking to do harm that it's our duty to pursue justice, no matter how long it takes,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “With technology that's ever evolving, we've made great strides in cold case investigations and hope to do the same in cooperation with our partners in Vernon County.”


Anyone with information should contact the Vernon County Sheriff's Department at 608-637-2123. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also is assisting Wisconsin investigators with this case. Media seeking more information should contact Dana Brueck at 608-266-1221.


The Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults produced a flier, which has a rendering of “Jane Doe,” photos of the clothes she was wearing and a description of a suspicious vehicle seen in the area. The flier is available at the following link: