Teen identified in 47-year-old cold case in Josephine County

The actual photo of 14 year old Anne Marie Lehman compared to the clay facial reconstruction of the skull found in Josephine County in 1971.

Posted: Mar 14, 2019 1:02 PM
Updated: Mar 14, 2019 5:14 PM

On August 18, 1971, a traveling father and his son stopped along the Redwood Hwy. near MP 35 in Josephine County to spend the remainder of the night. The next morning, they both stepped into the nearby woods and discovered the scattered skeletal remains of a young female. At the time, Sheriff’s investigators did all they could to identify who the remains belonged to, the cause and manner of death and how the remains came to be in Josephine County. When all the investigative leads were exhausted, the case was deemed “inactive” and the remains were placed in storage at the Sheriff’s Office warehouse and listed simply as “Jane Doe –Josephine County 71-940”.

In August 2004, Cold Case detectives renewed activity in the case as forensic science now allowed investigators to put a face on Jane Doe – Josephine County 71-940. Forensic Artist and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Deputy Joyce Nagy completed a clay facial reconstruction of our Jane Doe. Deputy Nagy nick-named her work “Jane Annie Doe” as she felt the likeness she created displayed features inspiring the name “Annie”. Investigators distributed the image of Jane “Annie” Doe nationwide resulting in numerous leads that kept the case active for several more years.

Anne “Annie” Marie Lehman at age 14, Photo Circa: 1969.

In the latter part of 2016, forensic isotope analysis of Jane Annie Doe’s hair, teeth, and bones indicated she was most likely from the northeast portion of the United States and migrated along the northern US border to the Pacific Northwest. This revelation along with a new forensic drawing of what Jane Annie Doe may have looked like was also published nationwide with emphasis in the New England states. Again, several leads were generated with one particular lead having strong similarities to a state of
Massachusetts missing person. Investigators from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) based in Alexandria Virginia worked those leads but DNA failed to make a match.

In February of 2017, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, funded and sponsored a case study of this Josephine County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

In November of 2018, Sheriff’s Cold Case Investigator and retired Major Crimes Unit Detective Sergeant
Ken Selig, received news that at the request of the NCMEC and the DNA Doe Project, DNA from Jane
Annie Doe was submitted to the DNA Doe Project by Dr. Nici Vance of the Oregon State Medical
Examiner’s Office. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office assumed custody of her remains in 2013.

The DNA Doe Project is a non-profit all-volunteer organization which uses donated funds to analyze DNA from John and Jane Does to compare with GEDmatch (a public genetic genealogy database) to identify them through their “DNA-cousins”. After weeks of careful analysis and painstaking ancestral research, Jane Annie Doe’s family was traced to relatives in England, New Zealand and Canada. In February, DNA Doe Project volunteers were able to notify Detective Selig that a potential match was found with a sister living in Washington State. As a result, Detective Selig, with the help of NCMEC, established contact with the sister and obtained a DNA sample from her.

Today, Sheriff Dave Daniel is pleased to announce that Jane “Annie” Doe – Josephine County 71-940, has been identified as Anne Marie Lehman of Aberdeen, WA. through a confirmed match with her full sister’s DNA. The family has been notified. Anne Lehman would have turned 65 years old this year.

Cold case investigators learned that Anne “Annie” (a nickname her family affectionately used for her) Lehman was born and raised in southwestern Washington State, primarily in Aberdeen, WA. Investigators believe Annie Lehman went missing from Aberdeen in the winter or spring of 1971 under troubling circumstances. Some say Annie Lehman was a runaway and others feel she was abducted and traded to a criminal human trafficking organization. These claims, how she ended up in Josephine County and the cause and manner of her death remain under investigation.

If anyone knows of any information concerning Anne “Annie” Marie Lehman (age 16 at the time of her disappearance) and her activities in years 1970 and 1971, we ask that you contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office – Detective Ken Selig, phone 541-474-5123 case #71-940

Sheriff Daniel would like to extend his sincere gratitude and thankfulness to all the employees and volunteers who worked on this case over the years. These include not only members of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, but also the Oregon State Police, Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, NAMUS, The University of North Texas, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, all of whom contributed to years of investigative and forensic investigation. It has taken nearly a half century to identify the mysterious Jane Annie Doe – Josephine County 71-940.

Our gratitude and thanks are humbly extended to Dr. Margaret Press, Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, and the many volunteers of the DNA Doe Project whose hard work on Jane Annie Doe’s genetic genealogy led to her identification. Without the DNA Doe Project orchestrating the effort to bring Annie Marie Lehman home, it may well have taken another 47 years before Annie would be identified and reunited with her family.

Forensic genetic genealogy is fast becoming the most powerful new tool for solving cold cases that have resisted all other approaches. Annie's case illustrates how far the field has come. Her DNA was heavily degraded, making it difficult to obtain the data needed for finding matches in GEDmatch. These matches were only distantly related, and each one whose family tree was used to solve her case was from outside the US. These unique challenges made the DNA Doe Project’s identification of Anne Marie Lehman groundbreaking.

It takes a dedicated staff of genetic genealogy volunteers to spend the hundreds if not thousands of hours needed to perform the complex investigative work necessary to solve such cases. The management and volunteer staff of The DNA Doe Project are to be recognized for this success. Anyone who has ever researched their family knows how hard and frustrating tracing family members can be.

The records are often missing, hard to interpret with names and places misspelled, and often contain incorrect information. This work requires much dedication and compassion towards reuniting lost loved ones with their families. In addition to the tenacity of the investigators and to the dedicated volunteers at the DNA Doe Project, Annie's identification depended on painstaking bioinformatics work by Dr. Greg Magoon of Aerodyne Research.

We who work these cases are keenly aware that our success often brings pain to those who have lost their loved ones. The long-awaited closure brings with it the details of the investigation not easily accepted, causing family members to relive the pain of their loss. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and extend our continuing support in any way possible.

-- Josephine County Sheriff Department

You can click the video above to hear from the team leader at DNA Doe Project. 

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