VIDEO: Facial reconstruction sculptor rebuilds child victim in bid to identify Jane Doe

Police stumbled across a gruesome discovery in 1973 – the remains of an unidentified teenager with two bullet wounds in her head found dumped in a landfill near Orlando, Florida.

She had been dead for at least a month when her remains were recovered on Aug. 22 of that year, near Route 431 in Altamonte Springs, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

There were no missing person cases matching her description in the area, and half a century later, she remains and unidentified Jane Doe.

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“What we’re doing is laying in those tissue markers, the ligature, the muscles and then the skin to try to determine what she may have looked like in life in hopes that somebody will recognize this child and help us give her her name back,” says Callahan Walsh, the executive director of the Florida branch of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 

CrimeCon facial reconstruction before and after

Over three days, forensic artist Joe Mullins reconstructed the face of an unidentified teen girl found shot to death in an Orlando landfill in 1973. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is hoping to help authorities identify the victim and bring the cold case to a close. (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

NCMEC forensic artist Joe Mullins typically takes up to two weeks to complete a reconstruction, he says, but spent three long, coffee-fueled days completing this one at CrimeCon 2023 in Orlando, hoping someone attending the true crime conference would recognize her.

“How do you go from a bare skull with obvious trauma, bullet holes, blunt force trauma, and turn that into a recognizable face? It’s a combination of art and science,” Mullins says.

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The sculptor works with parameters provided by a forensic anthropologist, he says.

The current Jane Doe is believed to have been between 13 and 18 years old at the time of her murder.

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She is described as a Caucasian female with brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was about 5 feet, 4 inches tall and, according to forensic testing on her bones, is believed to have spent her early life in the western or northwestern United States and may have spent time in the Midwest, according to the NCMEC.

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No one with that description was reported missing from the area where she was found, prompting investigators to cast a wider net looking for clues.

“Last I checked, there’s about 7.8 billion people on the planet,” Mullins says. “We just need one person to see it and say, ‘I think I know who that is.’”

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Anyone who does recognize her is asked to call the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office at (407) 665-6600.

Fox News’ Emily Robertson contributed to this report.



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