Investigators lay wreath at grave of victim in reopened cold case from 1976

MORRIS, Ill. — Grundy County investigators laid a wreath at the grave of an unidentified woman who was found dead by the side of the road in 1976 and buried on Thanksgiving Day, as they search for new leads in the cold case.

On October 2, 1976, a local farmer in Seneca, IL discovered the body of an African American female along U.S. Route 6. She had been shot in the head and left in a ditch. Investigators believed she was between the ages of 19 and 25, but with no matching fingerprints or dental records available,  she was never identified, and was buried in an unmarked grave on Thanksgiving of that year.

Investigators reopened the case a year and a half ago, hoping modern forensic technologies could lead to new leads in the county’s only cold case. They released an updated rendering

“Today, myself and other members of our office visited her grave and decorated it for the holidays, probably the first time anyone has ever put anything on that grave in all forty-two years,” Deputy Coroner Brandon Johnson said in a statement.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact the Grundy County Coroner at 815-942-3792.