Former Richland County State Hospital Jane Doe, Virginia Higgins Ray in 1961. (Ray Family photo)

On May 30, 2023, the Dean and Tina Linn Clouse Memorial Fund, FHD Forensics,  and the Richland County Coroner’s Office announced the identity of Richland County State Hospital Jane Doe.

This investigation was the first case underwritten by the memorial fund, selected by Dean and Tina’s families and the G4J Advisory Board.

Virginia Higgins Ray was a patient at the South Carolina State Hospital when she died on February 15, 1982, unable to give her name due to mental health crisis.

Not long after being hospitalized, the patient had a seizure and fatal fall. She was buried in the Richland County Cemetery as “Jane Doe” by the Richland County Coroner’s Office after extensive efforts to identify her.

“She was exhumed in 1996 when we were becoming aware of DNA technology,” said deputy coroner Dr. Bill Stevens.

After being unidentified for more than 40 years, on Mother’s Day 2023, Virginia’s family was given the news of their loved one’s death decades earlier.

A news conference to announce her identity was held at the Coroner’s Office at noon on May 30.

More Information:

FHD Forensics Press Release
RCCO Press Conference
ABC 25’s story, including an interview with Virginia’s sister

To help fund other Jane and John Doe investigations, please visit the Genealogy For Justice fundraising hub at Give Butter.