On July 21, 1999, the body of Racine County Jane Doe was found in a cornfield in the small town of Raymond, Wisconsin.

On July 21, 1999, the body of Racine County Jane Doe was found in a cornfield in the small town of Raymond, Wisconsin.:

At about 6:15AM on July 21, 1999, a man walking his dog discovered the body of a young woman lying in a cornfield on 92nd Street in Raymond, Wisconsin.

The victim, who came to be known as Racine County Jane Doe (or “Crystal Rae”), was a young white female with curly, reddish brown hair and brown, green, or hazel eyes. She was about 5’8 and weighed 120 pounds, and had protruding front teeth and healed scars on her shins. She was believed to be between 17 and 35 years old, but appeared to be on the younger side (early reports put her age range as low as 14 to 17).

An autopsy revealed that Jane Doe had been held captive and tortured for approximately two to four weeks before she died, with the abuse ramping up in the final three to five days of her life. She was malnourished and had been sexually assaulted. Her nose and at least one arm were fractured, and she had a cauliflower ear that had been caused by a recent injury. Her skin bore numerous cuts and bruises in various stages of healing, including on her arms, legs, and pubic area. 25% of her body was covered in burns.

Jane Doe was found wearing two earrings in each ear, a pair of black sweatpants, and a man’s grey Western-style Karman shirt with snap buttons and a red and white floral pattern. Investigators believe that the distinctive shirt – which was distributed throughout the country around 1984 – could possibly lead to the identification of Racine Doe or her killer.

Interestingly, medical experts at the time suggested that she might have worn glasses and/or had a cognitive disability. They have never specified what condition she may have had, how severely impaired she may have been, or whether her supposed poor eyesight and cognitive disability were tied to a single condition.

Investigators learned that the cornfield was a popular dumping ground for trash and unwanted furniture. She was killed at a different location and brought to the area, but her killer apparently made no attempt to conceal her body; she had been left at the northeast edge of the cornfield and was quite visible from the road.

They believed she was dumped there sometime at night on July 20 or in the early morning hours of July 21, but none of the nearby residents heard anything unusual. Frustratingly, there was also a rainstorm that night, which may have washed away crucial evidence in her case.

Early on, there was brief speculation that Jane Doe’s murder was connected to that of Amber Creek, a 14-year-old girl who ran away from a Chicago youth center and was last seen at a party in February 1997. Her body was found in Burlington, Wisconsin later that same month, but she wouldn’t be identified until June 1998. Burlington is less than 30 miles from Racine County, but detectives quickly ruled out any connection between the murders. In 2014, authorities matched a fingerprint at the crime scene to now 40-year-old James Eaton, who pleaded guilty and is now serving a 40-year prison term.

Another debunked theory was that Jane Doe was Aundria Michelle Bowman, a 14-year-old girl who disappeared from her Hamilton, Michigan home on March 11, 1989. However, any connection to Jane Doe was ruled out when her DNA didn’t match a sample taken from Aundria’s biological mother. Aundria has never been found and it is unclear if she ran away from her adoptive parents’ home or met with foul play.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been many updates over the years. Jane Doe’s remains were exhumed for isotope testing in October 2013. In 2016, authorities revealed that she had spent many years of her life in (or was originally from) Montana, Alaska, or parts of southern Canada.

Following the arrest of the Original Night Stalker using familial DNA in April 2018, Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling expressed interest in using the same technology to solve Jane Doe’s case. He said that they were conferring with a lawyer to make sure the test was legal, since he would be submitting Jane Doe’s DNA while falsely presenting it to the database as his own. There have been no updates since.

Who was Racine County Jane Doe? How did she end up in those circumstances in the last few weeks of her life? And who is her killer?

SOURCES

Contemporary news articles

The Doe Network

May 2018 news article