(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey sent a bulletin today to authorities in several southern states in an attempt to identify a female believed to be a victim of alleged Ohio serial killer Shawn Grate.
The public bulletin from Attorney General DeWine’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) was sent to law enforcement fusion centers and other law enforcement partners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas this morning.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Marion County Sheriff’s Office sent bones from the victim’s remains to the University of South Florida for isotope analysis, which determined that the female was likely born in one of the aforementioned states. The testing also indicated that she likely spent the last five years of her life in Texas, Florida, or the Caribbean.
“This victim is believed to have died at the hands of a cold-blooded killer who later went on to kill others, and the fact that she has been unidentified all this time makes her case even more tragic,” said Attorney General DeWine. “By sending this bulletin, we hope this case will get more attention outside of Ohio and that someone will recognize a face they haven’t seen in more than a decade.”
Shawn Grate, who confessed to murdering the Marion County Jane Doe, was sentenced to death last week in Ashland County for two other murders. He is also the suspect in two additional Richland County homicides. The Marion County Jane Doe’s remains were found off Victory Road in Marion on March 10, 2007, although she may have been killed several years prior. Grate told authorities he may have killed the female, who he believed was a magazine saleswoman, between 2004 and 2005.
BCI’s forensic artist created the pictured facial reconstruction of the Marion County Jane Doe last year. She was believed to have been between 15 and 30 years old when she died. She had brown hair and likely stood between 5’3″ and 5’9″ tall and weighed between 100 to 150 pounds. Her teeth were well cared for and had no obvious dental work or fillings.
“We hope that law enforcement in these southern states will examine their missing person’s reports and contact us if any of their cases are a potential match,” said Sheriff Bailey. “Members of the public are also urged to spread the word about this case. We want as many people as possible to see this facial reconstruction because this young woman was someone’s daughter, she was someone’s friend, and someone out there knows her name.”
The forensic facial reconstruction was created using an exact duplicate of the victim’s skull. Muscles and tissue were molded with clay using scientific guidelines that specify the thickness of the tissue in areas such as the chin, brow, nasal bridge, and cheeks. Features such as hairstyle and eye color are the artist’s estimations and should not be considered significant markers for identification.
Anyone with information on the female’s identity is urged to call the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 740-845-2406 or Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Christy Utley at 740-382-8244 ext. 5120.