DNA identifies Sandusky body found in Lake Erie 43 years ago, but doesn’t solve case

Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 11:06 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 12:51 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -It was March 30, 1980 when a woman’s partially decomposed body washed up on the Lake Erie shore in Sandusky.

The investigation into who she was would take more than four decades to answer, and it was DNA and genetic genealogy to prove her identity.

The Sandusky Police department and the U.S. Marshals Office used help from the Porchlight Project, a nonprofit group that funds DNA testing, to determine who Jane Doe was.

The genealogy work was done by Bode Technology when they received the skeletal remains in 2021.

According to the Porchlight Project, Sandusky Police were notified on March 30, 2023, 43 years to the date her body was found, that Jane Doe’s real identity was Patricia Greenwood, born in 1948.

The work by Bode Technology placed Greenwood in a family in which 12 children from the same family were all given up for adoption in Michigan.

It was Sandusky Detective Eric Costante who was able to track down and speak with a brother and sister of Greenwood.

Her brother indicated he had not heard from Patricia in decades, matching the time the body was found in Sandusky.

Her sister indicated to Constante that Patricia may have been as sex worker at the time she went missing.

Police are considering Greenwood’s death as a possible homicide and are looking for help to further the case.

At the time her body was found on a beach near Cedar Point Road in Sandusky she was described as a white woman, about 5′5″, 120 lbs..

She had no hair, no scars or jewelry that would have helped identify her.

She was wearing a size 12, disco style dress and would have been 32-years-old at the time of her death.

This is the dress worn by Jane Doe, who's body washed up on a beach in Sandusky on March 30,...
This is the dress worn by Jane Doe, who's body washed up on a beach in Sandusky on March 30, 1980. It took 43 years to identify her as Patricia Greenwood.(Source: Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office)

Police are hoping anyone in Ohio or Michigan who knew Patricia, or might be able to help further the case are asked to call Sandusky Police at 419-627-5980.