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15 years later: Still no answers in death of Gainesville baby

'Baby Jane Doe' found dead in pond on Aug. 20, 2003

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite neighborhood canvases, inspections of school and hospital records, appeals to the public for assistance and the best DNA techniques available at the time and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office never learned the identity of a dead baby found floating in a northwest Gainesville lake on Aug. 20, 2003.

“Baby Jane Doe”  was believed to be between two weeks and five months old. Her body was found in the water at the end of NW 102nd Place, three miles north of the Highway Patrol Station. 

Recent advances in DNA technology have been utilized to determine that Baby Jane was a black female whose parents were both black and most likely of Caribbean descent.

An age-progressed image of what the girl may have looked like was released, but no information came in leading to the child's identity.

As part of the Sheriff’s Office commitment to cold case investigations and with the assistance of Baby Jane Doe’s adopted supporters at the First Baptist Church, the girl's body was exhumed in 2016 for facial reconstruction and isotope testing, and reinterred in 2017, with her First Baptist pastor present. 

With the success of DNA genealogy techniques made famous by the identification and apprehension of the Golden State Killer, Baby Jane Doe’s bone material was sent for to a private laboratory for DNA extraction in May.  Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick’s organization, Identifinders, is helping the Sheriff’s Office with genome typing and genealogical research in an effort to identify the victim’s biological relatives.  

There's no word on when the Identifinders' research in the case will be complete.


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