Watch CBS News

Police Hope To Solve Cold Case Murder After Exhuming Body

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Investigators in Douglas County are now examining a woman's body that was buried nearly 20 years ago, but was pulled from the ground on Friday.

It's the first step in trying to finally identify the mystery woman and hopefully track down her family. She was found dead in 1993 at the Rainbow Falls campground in Douglas County but she was never identified.

A backhoe did most of the dirty work by removing tons of soil on top of the woman's casket. She has been known as "Jane Doe" since she was found dead in 1993, possibly murdered. Authorities figured she was between 16 and 19 years old, maybe a runaway. But with no wallet and no identification, she was buried without ever being identified.

Douglas County authorities exhumed her remains so they could extract new DNA and put it in a national database and hope that leads to an identification.

"I'm going to have a granddaughter in 11 days, and I'm like, 'That's somebody's child,' " Douglas County Coroner Lora Thomas said.

The process proved emotional for Thomas.

The Rainbow Falls Campground in Douglas County (credit:
The Rainbow Falls Campground in Douglas County (credit:

"We really want to find out who she is so her family knows where she is," Thomas said.

The unusual CSI type move could have a significant payoff.

"If it can give her back to her loved ones and give a family answers after all this time, by all means it's all worth it," Deputy Coroner Charles Brining said.

"We're the voice of the dead, that's what a coroner does," Thomas said. "We speak for the dead and we're hoping that we're going to be able to find a voice to speak for this young lady."

The coroner's office says it will likely take months before they know if the woman's DNA matches any in the national database and leads to an identification.

The Douglas County Coroner's Office believes there is a 50/50 chance they'll be able to identify the woman.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.