Crime

Do you recognize ‘New Hope Jane Doe’? Her body was found 29 years ago in Orange County

Digital illustration of New Hope Jane Doe by renounced forensic artist Carl Koppelman. The young woman was found on Interstate 40 near the New Hope Road exit on Sept. 19, 1990.
Digital illustration of New Hope Jane Doe by renounced forensic artist Carl Koppelman. The young woman was found on Interstate 40 near the New Hope Road exit on Sept. 19, 1990. Carl Koppelman, Forensic Artist

Twenty-nine years after a work crew found a female body along Interstate 40, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help identifying the young woman who has become known as New Hope Jane Doe.

The woman, estimated to be 15 to 22 years old, was found on the side of the highway near the New Hope exit on Sept. 19, 1990. Officials believe she had been dead about a week and that she had been strangled.

“Investigators pursued more than 100 leads, but we still don’t know who she is or who killed her,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood in a statement. “We want to learn who this young woman was and bring her family peace.”

Last year, renowned forensic artist Carl Koppelman completed a new illustration of the young woman, the first to show her teeth.

Orange County officials want to use social media and other modern methods to get her image in front of as many people as possible.

“This image needs to reach the right person – the person who knows who this girl was,” Blackwood wrote.

Digital Illustration by Carl Kopplema_fitted.jpeg
Digital illustration of New Hope Jane Doe by renounced forensic artist Carl Koppelman. The young woman was found on Interstate 40 near the New Hope Road exit on Sept. 19, 1990. Carl Koppelman, Forensic Artist

Daphne Owings’ interest in this type of missing-person cases started about 15 years ago after reading a Sue Grafton novel about a person who was killed but wasn’t identified, according to an Orange County press release.

Owings created a Facebook page entitled Who is NewHope Jane Doe?

When she was found, the young woman, estimated to be 5 feet 3 inches tall and about 120 pounds, was wearing a pink sweat shirt with bunnies, a bra, and clean white socks, the Facebook page says.

Some people thought they may have seen the young woman days earlier around the Ramada Inn on Interstate 85 near N.C. 62 “in the Burlington area, walking or asking for money or a ride,” the page states.

Earlier this year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office identified a boy found under a billboard on Interstate 85 in September 1998 and charged his father with murder.

To report information, contact Capt. Joshua Wood at the Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2927.

Anonymous tips can be reported at www.ocsonc.com/anonymous-tip.

Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.
  Comments