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Jane Doe Found Nearly A Decade Ago Determined To Be Pennsylvania Teen Missing Since 1969

State police hope that the recent identification of 14-year-old Joan Marie Dymond will help them learn who killed her and left her body near a mine shaft in Pennsylvania's coal country. 

By Jax Miller
How To Use DNA To Crack A Case

The skeletal remains of a female found in 2012 have finally been identified as a teenage girl who disappeared more than 50 years ago.

Pennsylvania State Police issued a release on Tuesday, announcing that genetic genealogy was the key to identifying “Jane ‘Newport’ Doe,” whose remains were discovered in Luzerne County almost 10 years ago. The identification was made possible by Othram Inc., which used forensic-grade genome sequencing to locate relatives of the victim, eventually leading them to discover “Jane Doe” was actually Joan Marie Dymond, a 14-year-old girl who vanished in 1969.

Capt. Patrick Dougherty, commanding officer of Pennsylvania State Police Troop P, hopes the new information will further their investigation.

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“We never stopped pursuing answers, and this investigation remains very active,” Dougherty stated in the release. “After 53 years, the family of Joan Marie Dymond very much deserves closure. We will do everything in our power to see that they have it.”

uzerne Jane Doe is now known to be 14-year-old Joan Dymond

On Nov. 17, 2012, individuals digging for relics found human remains near an old mineshaft on Alden Mountain Road in Newport Township, about 30 miles southwest of Scranton, part of the central Pennsylvania region commonly referred to as coal country. According to the Times Leader, the area was a “coal company wasteland” owned by Earth Conservancy Inc., while police called it a “trash-filled depression in the ground."

At the time, the “Jane Doe” was believed to be between 15 and 21 years old, having died sometime between 1959 and 1971, according to NAMUS (the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System). Lab results cited by police said it was likely she died in the late 1960s.

State police called the death “suspicious,” suspecting “foul play,” though they did not say why.

In March, the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police announced a partnership with the Luzerne Foundation, which would financially assist with funding DNA testing for cold cases around the county.

Joan Dymond's NCMEC Reconstruction

Previous attempts to identify the girl were made when the Criminal Investigation Unit at Pennsylvania State Police’s Shickshinny station submitted the victim’s DNA into federal databases, which yielded no results.

Investigators announced they’d had recent success solving a 1964 cold case that “long haunted” the community and hoped - with the help of donors - that they could see similar success in solving Jane Doe’s identity.

That’s when investigators sent their samples to the Texas-based group, Othram Inc.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Luzerne Foundation for funding this case and to the advocacy of those, like Senator Lisa Baker, who are trying to unlock funding to clear the rest of the cases that have gone cold over the years,” Othram’s Chief Development Officer, Kristen Mittelman, told Oxygen.com.

This line of inquiry led investigators to the family of Joan Dymond, who disappeared on June 25, 1969, from Andover Street Park in Wilkes-Barre, roughly 10 miles northeast of Newport Township.

The circumstances surrounding Dymond’s disappearance were not readily available.

Police say they hope to learn who was responsible for Joan Dymond’s death and ask anyone with information to contact the Shickshinny station at 1-570-542-4117.

Investigators also thanked several agencies for their “extraordinary assistance,” including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NAMUS, Beta Analytic Inc., and Othram.