On the afternoon of October 21, 1971, two university students discovered a body floating in the Congaree River while they were walking across a railroad bridge. The body was that of a female and was caught on tree limbs near the train trestle. She is estimated to have been between 17 and 25 years old at the time of her death. She was wearing a blue skirt, one silk stocking, and a lavender colored slip. The Coroner estimated that the body had been in the water for approximately 15 to 20 days.
Unfortunately, the original autopsy report cannot be located. The remains appear to have been autopsied, with the head and hands removed, presumably for printing and odontological analysis.
After initial efforts to identify the body failed, she was buried on Calhoun County property in a marked grave. These remains were exhumed in 2019 as part of further efforts to identify this decedent using NAMUS and DNA testing.
The Dean and Tina Linn Clouse Memorial Fund and FHD Forensics are collaborating with the Richland County Coroner’s Office to identify Fort Motte Jane Doe. Although highly degraded, selected remains have been sent for DNA extraction in hopes of being able to generate an autosomal profile for matching.
Recent mitochondrial DNA analysis revealed West African maternal lineage. She may have been mixed race or fair complected as she was guessed to be “probably white” at the time of her discovery.
To help fund this or other investigations, please visit the Genealogy For Justice fundraising hub at Give Butter.