Thursday, October 2, 2008
Out for Justice: Jane Doe
Solving a murder is a difficult task. Sometimes it takes years to find a killer. But imagine how hard it is to solve a crime when you don't even know who the victim is. That's what happened 18-years-ago, and as Patrick Fraser tells us in tonight's Out for Justice, Miami-Dade detectives say new technology is giving new hope to an old case.
WSVN -- Eighteen-years-ago police got the call that there was a dead woman on the side of Tamiami trail.
Detective Sal Garofolo, Miami-Dade Police: "When we got out there, it was obvious at the scene that the woman had been a victim of a homicide. She had been shot."
Sal Garofolo started working on the case that day, but identifying the killer was made tougher because no one could identify the victim.
Detective Sal Garofolo: "Here's a person that's dead in the ground. We don't know who her family is, they don't know if she's dead or alive. I guess if you really think about it, it is quite sad."
The woman was probably in her late 30s and appeared to be Hispanic, maybe Mexican.
Detective Sal Garofolo: "We had the opportunity to speak with some witnesses who had found the body, and unfortunately we had been unable to identify this woman to this day."
Since she was found in South Dade, detectives checked migrant camps to see if a woman was missing. No luck there either.
Detective Sal Garofolo: "She could have been a migrant worker, maybe came into the country illegally, but she was dressed appropriately. She was wearing a skirt, a blouse, shoes. She even had a ring on her left finger, just a plain white ring. I don't know if it was a wedding band or not."
South Florida TV stations even showed the morgue photo, again nothing. The case grew cold, but Detective Garofolo refused to forget about that unidentified woman.
Detective Sal Garofolo: "And I always kept it aside because I felt badly that I was unable to get an identification on this woman."
And now he hopes to get a break thanks to new advancements in forensic technology being done by artist Samantha Steinberg.
Samantha Steinberg, Miami-Dade Police Forensic Artist: "I was able to start with a photograph from the Medical Examiner's Office and kind of build the representation off of that."
Steinberg uses a state-of-the-art computer to transform the morgue photo into the a picture of what the woman would look like when she was alive.
Samantha Steinberg: "In this case, it's just about finding a set of eyes that fit the proportion of her face and fit the look that I think she would have and really just give her open eyes."
After matching the eyes, Samantha finds the hairstyle the victim had. Then she adds in the blouse the woman was wearing when she was killed.
Samantha Steinberg: "It was more about bringing life to the photo and to the person as opposed to having to really rebuild the face."
Bring the victim's face alive and hope that someone will see this Jane Doe and give her a name.
Detective Sal Garofolo: "The way she's come up with the rendition of this profile of this lady, I'm sure when someone sees this it might spark some type of memory of who this woman was, if she had any family here."
Give Jane Doe a name, so the pauper's grave she is buried in can be marked, so a family can finally find out what happened to their daughter or sister or mother, and, after identifying her, maybe then find her killer.
If you think you know who this woman is, Miami-Dade cold case detectives would appreciate a call.
And if you have a loved one that was murdered or is still missing, give us a call. You will find many people still want to help are still out for justice.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice