Cold case reopened: Mother of 3 identified as 1993 Southern Illinois murder victim | Crime/Courts
The identity of 1993 murder victim “Ina Jane Doe” has been discovered and the investigation into her death will be reopened, authorities revealed during a Friday news conference.
“Ina Jane Doe” has been identified as Susan Lund of Clarksville, Tennessee, with the help of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Redgrave Research Forensic Services of Massachusetts.
Lund’s decapitated head was found Jan. 27, 1993, on the side of a wooded roadway within Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park near Ina.
However, her identity was unknown at the time.
Now her family, including her three children who were six, four and two at the time of her disappearance, has received some peace, one of Lund’s other sisters, Pamela Reyes, said.
“I’m just speaking on behalf of her three children,” Reyes said. “They just really want people to know that they’re grateful to find out that they weren’t abandoned by their mother. She didn’t leave her kids, not willingly. For her six-year-old, her only son, it was really important for him to come to grips that his mom didn’t abandon him.”
People are also reading…
Lund went missing on Dec. 24, 1992, after leaving her family home to walk to a nearby grocery store, Anthony Redgrave, co-founder and lead forensic genetic genealogist of Redgrave Research Forensic Services, said at the news conference.
Soon after her husband reported her missing, an investigation into her whereabouts pursued to no avail and ultimately closed.
Lund’s siblings and the rest of her family didn’t know until four days later she was missing. They have been looking for her ever since.
“I talked to her last on Dec. 24,” Reyes said. “I’m probably the last person to speak with her in the family. We were making plans to talk, and I was trying to make plans to come down and visit her. It’s just like we were celebrating Christmas and then all this. It’s never been the same. We’ve always had a piece of our family missing.”
Her head was originally found by two girls — ages 10 and 12 — who were running through the park, according to an Associated Press newspaper clipping obtained by The Southern from January 1993.
Her remains were dumped on a peninsula that extends into Rend Lake, the story read.
At the time the remains, lated identified as Lund, was estimated to be 30 to 50 years old at the time of her death, and she had likely died two to three days prior to discovery, police said.
The police described her as having long reddish hair and a pin-shaped mole in her left ear.
She’d had extensive dental work, including a silverpoint filling, and she had possibly worn braces at some point, police said.
The case eventually went cold until recently when Dr. Amy Michael with the University of New Hampshire reached out to the sheriff’s office to offer some DNA and bone re-analysis of the unknown victim at the time, Michael said during the news conference.
Through bone re-analysis, Michael and her team were able to determine that Lund’s was likely not as asymmetrical as previously thought.
The initial anthropological report and academic paper published in 1996 stressed a hypothesis of the remains now identified as Lund having torticollis or wryneck syndrome, displayed in the original suspected image of Lund through great asymmetry, Redgrave said.
Because of Michael’s hypothesis, new forensic art was prepared by sketch artist Carl Koppelman to reflect updated findings.
One image is without eye makeup and the other is with eye makeup, police said.
The news release posted on Facebook garnered hundreds of comments with people comparing the new forensic images with images of other missing persons.
The DNA re-analysis started in February 2020 and Redgrave Research Forensic Services of Massachusetts was able to quickly find some potential matches and locate Lund’s family.
Police then retrieved a DNA sample from one of Lund’s suspected siblings on March 6, and it came back as a match, Redgrave said.
“We found that this couple had several children, including Susan Lund, and she did not have a documented death date and there was no evidence of an address or proof of life activity after 1993,” Redgrave said. “They (the samples) were found to share 2,599.5 Centimorgans with each other, which you can see … is 100% consistent with the values shared with the full sibling.”
Now with Lund’s identity confirmed, her family is mourning the news while simultaneously happy to know where she ended up.
“I cried most of the day. We had been looking on and off, when we could, to find her. She was just very kind-hearted, very not judgmental and down to earth. Just a really sweet person the whole time and everyone … really loved her. Then I was angry. I was angry because she’s been there for 29 years. But we’re relieved now.”
However, the circumstances surrounding Lund’s death have not been solved.
The almost 30-year-old cold case is set to reopen with cooperation between the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Clarksville police.
“The sheriff’s office extends its sincerest condolences to the family of Susan Lund,” Sheriff Jeff Bullard Sr. said. “Unfortunately, in most homicide investigations, victim identification is done very quickly and we can move forward following up every lead and determining victimology to try to ascertain the truth as to what happened to the victim. That has taken much longer now, but that doesn’t stop our mission. Our mission is still to find the truth about what happened to Susan.”
Anyone with information about Lund or this case can contact Detective Captain Bobby Wallace at the Sheriff’s Office (618)244-8004 or Crimestoppers at 618-242-TIPS (8477).