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29 years later, New Hope Jane Doe still unidentified

Digital Illustration by Carl Koppleman.jpg

On September 19, 1990, a work crew discovered the body of a young woman near the New Hope Road exit on Interstate 40. Twenty-nine years later, the mystery of New Hope Jane Doe remains unresolved. 

The anniversary of this homicide has brought the investigators renewed hope to find greater evidence and possibly get in touch with the right people who may have clues about the identity of New Hope Jane Doe. 

The hope arises from new forensic illustrations by Carl Koppelman, a professional forensic artist, who recently completed an illustration of the young victim’s face in 2018. 

Koppelman has drawn several illustrations of missing individuals’ faces throughout his work, and his recent illustration of New Hope Jane Doe could unlock doors to find more evidence regarding her death. 

“He was able to detect her teeth, which was a little bit distinctive," said Alicia Stemper, director of public information and special services for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. "Prior illustrations had her mouth shut."

Now, with an increasing amount of communication methods and a rise in social media, it is easier than ever to spread the images in the hope of finding the right individuals who may have some knowledge about the victim or her death, she said. 

“(The illustration can) reach way more people that it would have ever reached back in twenty-nine years ago,” Stemper said. 

Regarding the significance of the illustration, the county's sheriff shares a similar belief. 

“We want as many people as possible to see this new picture," Orange County Sheriff, Charles Blackwood, said in a press release. "Social media wasn’t a resource in 1990. Now, it allows us to get her likeness in front of more people than we ever dreamed possible back then. This image needs to reach the right person – the person who knows who this girl was.”  

Daphne Owings, a self-proclaimed “passion volunteer" who helps spread the word in the community and beyond, runs a Facebook profile called ‘Who Is New Hope Jane Doe’ dedicated to publicizing the tragedy. 

“My only goal is to find out who this girl is," Owings said in a press release. "She was about 5-feet-3-inches tall, approximately 120 pounds and between the ages of 15 and 25, most likely on the younger end of this range. She had blonde, possibly frosted hair, and she was found wearing a pink sweatshirt with three bunnies on the front.” 

The investigators and the Town of Hillsborough look forward to resolving the case, Stemper said. 

This task becomes significantly easier to pursue as the era of communication and social media pave the way to inform the right individuals who can help bring twenty-nine years of mystery to an end, she said. 

Orange County residents are urged to visit the 'Who is New Hope Jane Doe' page on Facebook, like the page and share it to their own social media networks in order to spread the word about this 29-year-old unsolved case.

city@dailytarheel.com

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