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Madison officer seeks to ID bones found 10 years ago

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Sgt. Charles Berry had hoped to identify Jane Doe’s body, her bones stored in a cardboard box in the evidence room next to his office, before he retired.

It’s been 10 years since a hunter found the teenager’s body in Indian Creek, and Berry, a crime scene specialist with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, hasn’t given up yet.

“You think someone would miss a teenager,” said Berry, who’s eligible to retire next year. “I find myself looking every time I see a missing child poster. I don’t know if it has become a habit or a mission.”

An entire shelf of Berry’s office is dedicated to Jane Doe, with 4-inch binders full of dead-end leads and, maybe, just maybe, a possible match for Jane Doe.

The sheriff’s office has compared the girl’s DNA and dental records to more than 40 missing girls from as far away as Hawaii and Canada.

A raccoon hunter found her bones, wrapped in plastic sheeting, off Indian Creek Road near Alabama 53 and Jeff Road in October 1997.

She wasn’t wearing clothes.

Forensic scientists believe she’s a young white girl, between 15 and 17 years old. She was about 4-feet-10 to 5-feet-1. Weight and eye and hair color are unknown. Investigators found about 95 percent of her skeleton beside the creek.

She had probably been there for a year to a year and a half, said Berry.

Dr. James Lewis, a Madison dentist and forensic odontologist, said Jane Doe had received some type of dental care in her life.

“This case has been run through the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), and we’ve come up with nothing,” he said. “The problem with that system is, unfortunately, some of the missing children don’t have dental records.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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