Crime & Courts

Body exhumed from Kansas grave may be that of Belgian woman, sheriff says

UPDATE, 11:55 a.m., Aug. 2, 2019 -- Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said this week that DNA will determine the identity of a body exhumed from Gypsum Hill Cemetery. It could be the body of a woman missing from Belgium.

Soldan told the Topeka Capital-Journal the death was investigated as a homicide because the woman was beaten and thrown off a bridge into the creek.

He says Interpol in Europe has DNA from the missing Belgian woman, but Kansas authorities didn’t have DNA to try for a match until the exhumation. Soldan says DNA tests could take six to eight months.

ORIGINAL STORY

Investigators dug up the grave of an unidentified woman who was found dead 33 years ago to test the body for DNA.

The Saline County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that a grave was exhumed Monday morning at Gypsum Hill Cemetery in Salina. The body of an unidentified woman nicknamed “Miss Molly” had been buried there.

“The Sheriff’s Office obtained an order of exhumation and a search warrant to collect samples for examination,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. “This effort is being made to take advantage of the advancements in DNA identification.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted in collecting the samples.

“Miss Molly,” or Jane Doe 16, was found dead and partially clothed along I-70 in rural Saline County on Jan. 25, 1986, according to an FBI poster for an unidentified homicide victim. The sheriff’s office said she was found in a creek.

The unidentified person was described as a white woman, 25-30 years old, 5-foot-5, about 125 pounds, with blue and gray eyes and brown hair with frosted highlights.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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