After nearly 45 years to the day police found her body dumped near a graveyard, Baltimore County Police said Wednesday that detectives had identified a girl known as “Woodlawn Jane Doe” through new DNA tests.
The young woman – who turned out to be 16 when she was killed – has been identified by police as Margaret Fetterolf of Alexandria, Virginia. Family members told detectives the teenager went missing in 1975, a year before she was found strangled with her body wrapped in a white sheet and her hands tied behind her back near the Lorraine Park cemetery.
In a video provided by county police, Cpl. Dona L. Carter, who works with the Criminal Investigation Unit, said it was a “significant” development in the case that could help catch those involved in the murder.
“It’s a very big break in the deal,” she said in the video. âBecause without knowing who she is or where she came from, we really don’t have much to do. We need to know who she may have been with to get leads on this case. “
Carter said the department planned to travel to Alexandria to try and find leads in the area, including chatting and visiting Hayfield High School, which Fetterolf was attending at the time of his disappearance. Detectives are also interested in speaking with friends or former classmates.
For years, police believed Fetterolf was from the Boston area after testing pollen particles that clung to his clothes in 2016. Authorities said the mixture of cedar and subalpine hemlock pollen, identified by a US Customs and Border Patrol scientist, was a combination found only at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston or the New York Botanical Garden.
The clues found at the scene had long pointed to Massachusetts. The type of cloth seed bag pulled over Fetterolf’s head was only sold in Massachusetts. A key in his pocket was made by ILCO in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. A coarse tattoo of the letters “JP” could signify the Jamaica Plain neighborhood in Boston.
Police said Wednesday it was not clear when – or if – Fetterolf was already in Boston.
“It wasn’t until recently that Virginia became an area of ââinterest,” said police spokeswoman Joy Stewart.
A year after the pollen was discovered, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a new facial reconstruction image of Fetterolf.
Then police said their big breakup happened earlier this year.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – which aided county police in the investigation – as well as Bode Technology, one of the largest private forensic DNA labs in the United States, further tests DNA were made. These results were crucial in helping identify Fetterolf, authorities said.
A woman on her way to church on September 12, 1976 spotted a pickup truck near the Lorraine Park cemetery. Officers found Fetterolf wearing beige jeans, a white short-sleeved shirt and a rawhide collar. Police previously believed she was in her late teens or twenties. she was about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 159 pounds, and had brown hair and brown eyes. Tips first poured in but have declined over the years.
The brown-haired, brown-haired girl was also allegedly sexually assaulted. The drug chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic drug, was found in her system.
Anyone who may have information on this matter is urged to contact Baltimore County detectives at 410-307-2020.