News & Opinion | July 21, 2018 5:00 am

Internet Sleuths Help Find Identity of Skeleton Found in 1975 With Hole in Head

The "Jane Doe" skeleton had been a mystery for years.

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The human skeleton, stuck in the mud along the banks of the Rocky River in Strongsville, Ohio, was found in 1975 by three boys. At the time, it was missing most of its flesh and part of its jaw, and though the boys didn’t see it at the time, there was a small bullet hole in its skull. No one claimed the skeleton, so it was buried in an unmarked grave and remained there for more than 40 years. But then, Christina Scates, who was working on a family genealogy research project came across Unknown White Female Bones in the cemetery index in 2014. She started digging, calling police agencies and reading files. She decided to upload all of her research to Reddit’s “Unsolved Mysteries” forum and on Websleuths.com.

The case caught the attention of Carl Koppelman, a forensic artist, who cross-references unidentified remains with unsolved missing-persons reports. Then he makes facial-reconstruction drawings using what he knows about the skulls. He did that with the Strongsville Jane Doe. Fischer then entered the case into NamUs, where it was discovered by a police officer working on cold cases.

Thanks to the network who worked on the case, it was discovered that the body belonged to Linda Pagano, a 17-year-old who went missing in 1974 following an argument with her stepfather.