Skip to main content

Investigators in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, are hoping the public can help identify a woman whose skull was found near the St. Croix River in 2002. 

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice on Wednesday released new details about the cold case, stating they now believe the woman was of Swedish descent.

Initially, investigators believed the woman was of Asian descent but genetic genealogists with the DNA Doe Project recently determined she was Swedish, with investigators believing her relatives may have emigrated to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. 

Investigators believe the woman was likely between 35- and 50-years-old and had "widely spaced eyes, a flat face and a pronounced forehead," a news release says.

The sheriff's office's website says Jane Doe's skull and mandible were found in a wooded area of a Boy Scout camp near Houlton, Wisconsin on Oct. 21, 2002. A cause of death was not determined.

Authorities speculate her skull was left there within a year of it being discovered. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Investigators are asking the public to contact the sheriff's office with information about anyone who matches Jane Doe's description and who disappeared before October 2002. 

Potential family members of Jane Doe may need to confirm her identity by providing a DNA sample, the sheriff's office said. 

Anyone with information is asked to email James Haefner at or call him at 715-381-4325. 

Next Up


New Raptor Center data shows 'substantial drop' in bird flu patients

However, the virus remains a serious health threat for birds.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 6.16.34 PM

Suspect kills himself after shooting woman and baby at Fargo restaurant

The suspect was found dead in a stolen vehicle in Minnesota.

CK Kyle Kasio

Charges: Guest stabbed three men as they slept in Albert Lea

Investigators believe the suspect is related to all three victims.

Kandiyohi County Courthouse

2 charged for fentanyl overdose death of 19-year-old

The-19-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose last month.

storm, severe weather

Severe thunderstorm watch: Hail, 65 mph gusts, tornadoes possible

The watch is just north of the Twin Cities metro area.

Lake Minnetonka

The staggering rise of Minnesota's most famous lakes this spring

Imagine dumping Lake Minnetonka into Lake Superior 47 times.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota Senate shoots down latest marijuana legalization attempt

The bill didn't receive the required votes for further consideration on Wednesday.


Minneapolis wants to use $1M in federal cash to plant 200,000 trees

The goal is to have these trees planted by the year 2040.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 12.54.22 PM

MOA theater to debut wrap-around, 270-degree movie screen

The new technology will expand the movie screen onto the side walls of the theater auditorium.


Skull continues to baffle Wisconsin investigators

Nearly 10 years after two Boy Scouts discovered a skull near Houlton, Wis. -- and after detectives recently chased one especially promising lead all the way to Japan -- investigators are back to square one. The skull's identity remains a mystery, and the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office is again asking for the public's help. The Star Tribune dives into the mystery....


Authorities seek help identifying body found in Mississippi River

It was one of two bodies pulled from the river this weekend.

sherri ann jarvis

After 41 years, Texas authorities ID murdered Jane Doe as Stillwater girl

The State of Minnesota removed her from her home when she was 13 due to "habitual truancy" and she never returned.

Grave of Peggy Lynn Johnson

20 years later, Wisconsin 'Jane Doe' cold case finally solved

Authorities have ID'd her and arrested her alleged killer.

Screen Shot 2021-10-24 at 10.11.36 AM

Search for Wisconsin woman whose vehicle was found near Hinckley

Ashley L. Miller, 33, was reported missing on Sep. 24 after her vehicle was found without her in it.

Annysa Marie Zierhut 1

Pregnant woman whose body was found in burning RV is ID'd

The 28-year-old woman was reported missing in late October.