Unsolved Cases: Avalon Jane Doe

The elderly woman found over a hillside in Avalon was never identified.

The woman survived about eight decades on this earth, but her death gave no dignity to those years.

On June 19, 1997, the mummified body of a petite black woman with short, curly, gray-and-white hair—only 5 feet tall and weighing only 100 pounds—was found over a hillside behind the Ponderosa Restaurant at 920 Ohio River Blvd. (Route 65) in Avalon.

The woman, who was found inside a blue sleeping bag, was wrapped in two black plastic trash bags—one tied over her head, one tied over her feet—then wrapped again in what authorities believe was a plastic mattress cover, according to the Pennsylvania Missing Persons website.

Her head was lying on a pillow with a towel covering her face. Her body was covered with a green blanket. She was dressed in beige slacks, a light green adult diaper a sweatshirt, a white (but yellowish discolored) bra and two pairs of socks—one set pink, the other green.

She also wore a long-sleeved, yellow sweatshirt with "USA for Africa" in big, blue block letters. A musical note was on the "A" in USA and a leaf or tree was on the first "A" in Africa. The shirt also featured red script lettering which read "United Support of Artists for Africa." Because the body was mummified, it was likely she had been deceased for a period of time between 6 weeks and a year  in a sheltered place. 

Authorities are not sure how long she was on the hillside where she was found. She died of natural causes and hardening of the arteries was noted by the medical examiner.

Her identity was never determined. No one claimed her body. And her remains were eventually cremated.

If you have any information about this case, contact the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office at 412-350-4800.

For more information about this and other missing person cases, visit Pennsylvania Missing Persons, NamUs or the Doe Network.

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ED June 16, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Hey kids, put grandma's body in the car. We'll dump her over the hillside behind Ponderosa and then we can all go get the dinner buffet.
Jo Paytas June 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Sounds to me like someone wanted to keep getting her social security checks after she passed. So sad that the poor woman didn't even get a decent send off. Shame on those who dumped her there.


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