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Cold case reopened in La Grande, Oregon 44 years later

Forensic scientists and detectives dug up three locations including the original burial site and two other areas nearby in hopes of potentially finding new evidence.

LA GRANDE, Ore. — A 44-year old cold case out of La Grande, Oregon was recently reopened. Oregon state investigators are trying to identify the remains of a young woman found buried in a wooded hillside.

This Jane Doe’s remains were found in a shallow grave near Finley Creek in August of 1978. She would have been in her late teens or early 20's, according to examiner's.

RELATED: Unsolved Indigenous murders get renewed attention in Washington

Last week Oregon State Police: Forensics Service Division, State Medical Examiner’s Office Forensic Anthropologist, State Police Major Crimes Detectives, and members of the Union County Search and Rescue team dug up three locations including the original burial site and two other areas nearby. 

They shifted dirt and material through screens in hopes of potentially finding even the smallest bone fragments — or other evidence — to help identify this woman through DNA testing. 

Credit: OREGON STATE POLICE
FINLEY CREEK JANE DOE SKETCH

The search and rescue team found more than 50 bones during the search but the state's forensic anthropologist found that none of them were human.

OSP and other agencies will continue with the search in hopes of finally identifying the Finley Creek Jane Doe and bringing closure to her family. 

They’re hoping this new search will turn up evidence that could help identify the woman who's at the center of this 1978 cold case.

Officials ask anyone who may have information on this case to contact the OSP Dispatch at 1-800-442-0776 and reference the case number SP-7875-2103. 

RELATED: Body found near Burke-Gilman Trail was that of missing Indigenous woman, family says

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