Woman found shot to death in Illinois farm field finally identified after nearly 50 years

The woman's identity will be released at a Thursday press conference

NBC Universal, Inc.

Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report in 2021.

After nearly 50 years without answers, officials in Illinois’ Grundy County will finally reveal the identity of a woman found shot to death in a farm field in 1976.

According to the Grundy County Coroner’s Office, a press conference will be held Thursday after DNA technology allowed them to identify the victim in recent months.

The woman, who was believed to be between the ages of 15 and 27, was found shot to death in a ditch near a farm in rural Seneca on Oct. 2, 1976. A farmer found her body alongside rural U.S. Route 6 on that fateful day and called police.

After efforts to identify her were unsuccessful, she was buried in an unmarked grave at the Braceville-Gardner cemetery in Nov. 1976.

According to Coroner John Callahan, his office reopened the case in 2017, hoping to use forensic technology to try to identify the victim in the case. Her body was exhumed in December of that year, with experts obtaining DNA samples to compare to a nationwide database.

Limited identifying characteristics have been revealed over the years, but Thursday will mark the culmination of the efforts to identify the woman.

Contact Us