Cold case: Investigators ask for help identifying human remains found along St. Croix in 2002

The discovery 20 years ago raised many questions, but few answers have been found so far.




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Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360

It’s been 20 years since Boy Scouts found a human skull on the banks of the St. Croix River in Somerset, and authorities still don’t know whose it was. The St. Croix County sheriff is asking anyone with information to get in touch.

The skull was found in a plastic bag at the Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp on October 21, 2002. It is believed to have been moved there from a death elsewhere. And it was believed to have been deposited within a year before its discovery.

“The unidentified person was a female between the ages of 35 to 50+, of Asian, Asian Pacific or Native American ancestry,” the sheriff’s office says. “She had short mousy-brown hair, between 2 ½ to 3 inches long, and was missing all of her teeth at the time of death.”

Notably, “Jane Doe” had widely spaced eyes, a flat face, and a pronounced forehead. Based on that, investigators believe she was developmentally challenged, and perhaps had even been institutionalized before her death.

Rendering of victim’s possible appearance. (St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office)

Last year, thanks to new DNA technology and volunteers who help compare cold case DNA to national databases, investigators revised their assessment of the case.

“It was initially believed the woman was of Asian descent, but investigative genetic genealogists with the DNA Doe Project have now determined that she was of Swedish descent,” the Wisconsin Department of Justice says. “It is believed that her relatives may have emigrated to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.”

Anyone having information about this unidentified person, even if you think it is insignificant, is asked to contact the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Unit at 715-381-4390 or email at

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