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"Midtown Jane Doe" cold case advances after DNA links teen murdered over 50 years ago to 9/11 victim's mother

Tracing family trees to catch killers
Tracing family trees to catch killers 01:56

Authorities have finally identified the remains of a New York City teenager coined "Midtown Jane Doe," after her grisly murder spawned a decadeslong cold case investigation. A recent breakthrough owed to advanced forensics linked her DNA to the mother of a woman killed on 9/11.

Jane Doe was identified as Patricia Kathleen McGlone, who was just 16 at the time of her death and had previously lived and attended school in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Investigators believe she was murdered during the latter half of 1969, or, potentially, at some point in early 1970, said Detective Ryan Glas of the New York City Police Department. Glas has worked this case for much of the last two years.

The case drew an initial wave of horror and intrigue in 2003, when construction workers discovered human remains buried beneath a Manhattan building that was being taken down. That February, as workers were breaking up the floor of the building to prepare it for demolition, a skull rolled out from under the concrete. A search revealed the skeleton of a young woman who had been tied in the fetal position with an electrical cord. Her body had been wrapped in a carpet and encased in concrete. The medical examiner determined that she had died from strangulation.

The victim's skull at the scene where her remains were originally found in 2003. NYPD

There was a gold signet ring with the initials "PMCG" found on one of the victim's fingers, and buried with her was a dime minted in 1969 and a green plastic toy soldier, but there was little else in the way of clues as to who she was or what may have happened. The victim was nicknamed "Midtown Jane Doe" because of the location of the building where she was found, in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City. Between 1964 and 1969, the building was a popular nightclub called Steve Paul's The Scene, which made a name for itself as a rock-and-roll performance venue where acts like The Doors and Jimi Hendrix played.

New York City police detectives reopened the case for review in 2017. They applied modern tests to the forensic evidence originally collected from the crime scene and DNA lifted from the victim's remains to eventually develop what Glas called "a suitable genetic profile." The profile was then linked to potential relatives using investigative genetic genealogy

Detectives learned first that Jane Doe was born in April 1953, but because both parents had died and she did not have siblings, finding a DNA sample that could definitively prove the victim was in fact Patricia McGlone, the child of those two people, was not a straightforward process. Genetic experts said the DNA of a specific maternal cousin would confirm the identity of Jane Doe, and after conducting a series of interviews with prospective relatives across the United States and spanning multiple generations, Glas was able to find it. 

Although the cousin had already died, her son told Glas that he remembered his mother submitting a DNA swab to the medical examiner in New York City after his sister died on 9/11. Relatives of missing people submitted their DNA to help identify unknown victims in the wake of the attacks. Glas retrieved the cousin's genetic information from the medical examiner's office and, earlier this month, confirmed that the remains of "Midtown Jane Doe" belonged to McGlone.

Detective Ryan Glas has worked the New York City Police Department's "Midtown Jane Doe" case since 2022.  NYPD

Investigators determined that McGlone had been enrolled in Catholic school and a public middle school in Sunset Park, but her school attendance record tapered off in 1968 and 1969, said Glas, who described her as "a runaway and a truant" in the period leading up to her death. McGlone had gotten married around that time and was no longer in touch with her family, said Glas, adding that police have not found records of missing persons reports filed after her disappearance. 

An active homicide investigation is now underway to learn more about the circumstances surrounding McGlone's death. Police have not named any potential suspects but Glas said that her former husband was connected to the building where her remains were found. His team is asking anyone who knew McGlone, her family or the area around Steve Paul's The Scene around the time of her murder to contact the police department.

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