As uncovered in our Left for Dead series, there are more than 10,000 known Jane and John Does in the U.S. – unidentified and unclaimed bodies languishing in limbo for years, sometimes for decades.
In this episode of Reveal, we crisscross the nation tracing these cold cases, showing why so many bodies remain unidentified despite new and powerful forensic tools. In some cases, amateur Web sleuths end up cracking cases that stymied law enforcement.
In This Episode:
She Never Left Harlan Alive
In 1969, a young woman was stabbed to death in Harlan, Kentucky, and buried without a name. Local authorities undertook an exhumation last November in hopes of identifying the victim known only as “Mountain Jane Doe.” But the results were surprising.
Unidentified Migrants Reach Undignified End
Out of the thousands of unidentified bodies scattered across the country, many are found in South Texas, where migrants are crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. We travel to border to find out what happens to these remains.
Buried In Blue Earth
In 1980, 18-year-old Michelle Busha left her Bay City, Texas, home and never returned. But her remains weren’t identified for another three decades. Meet the two woman who didn’t know each other, yet spent years seeking answers in Michelle’s disappearance.
The Code For Cracking Cold Cases
Throughout this episode, we’ve heard about NamUs, a federal database of missing and unidentified persons. This system allows law enforcement agencies and amateur sleuths to search and gather information about active cases. Networks and communities of volunteer detectives have grown online – sleuthing on their own time.