LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The case of ‘Jane Doe,’ identified Monday as Tammy Jo Alexander, is 35 years in the making, with over 10,000 leads handled by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and associated law enforcement, and 62 missing persons ruled out by the Livingston County Coroner’s office as reported by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database.
On November 10, 1978, Alexander’s body was found in a Caledonia cornfield off of Route 20, when an observant driver spotted her red jacket from the road. The body found was that of a 5’3” girl, weighing about 120 lbs, estimated to be between the ages of 13 and 19. It was estimated that her death occurred one day beforehand.
Her disappearance came before the time of the Amber Alert, which was created in 1996.
Reports state that the young woman was shot in the back of the head once, by the side of Route 20 and then was dragged face-down into the cornfield where she was again shot, this time in the back. The firearm is suspected to be a .38 caliber handgun, as a fired slug of that size was found near by the victim, but the gun was never identified.
Alexander’s body was found with the pockets of her brown corduroys turned inside out. She was also wearing silver jewelry with turquoise accents, one stone resembling a bird, that could have been made in the Southwest.
A local waitress came forward as a witness, stating that she had seen the girl in a Lima diner with a white male, 5’8” to 5’9,” who was wearing black wire rimmed glasses the night before the body was found.
In September 2005, the body was exhumed from its grave in Dansville for dental examinations in hopes of identifying minerals in drinking water. It was previously found that she had severe tooth decay in a back molar, had no fillings, and that none of her wisdom teeth had come in. This discovery is beneficial to the case as forensic dentistry can help identify the victim through a wide range of factors from age to socioeconomic background.
In 2006, pollen grains were removed from the body from trees that are nonexistent in New York State but common in Florida, Arizona, or Southern California.
The grave of an ‘unidentified girl,’ now known to be Tammy Jo Alexander, is located in Dansville, is inscribed; “Lest we forget an unidentified girl. Nov 9, 1979. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Tammy Alexander. (Photo/Facebook)