A woman known only as “Jane Doe” since her body was discovered in Wisconsin in 2008 has now been positively identified.
Fond du Lac County Sheriff Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt announced the woman’s identity on Nov. 23, exactly 13 years after her decomposing body was found by three hunters in a shallow creek in the town of Ashford.
Forensic technology that was not available in 2008 led authorities to identify the woman as Amy Marie Yeary, a Rockford, Illinois, woman who was 18 years old when she died in 2008, the sheriff said.
Yeary’s cause of death has not been determined, as Waldschmidt offered his condolences to her family.
“As much as you have been wondering where Amy was, we have been wondering who Amy is,” Waldschmidt said during a news briefing Nov. 23.
After her body was found in 2008, authorities searched hundreds of missing person files in their attempts to identify the woman. She was buried in 2011 but exhumed in 2018 after experts recommended her bone, tooth and hair samples be collected to conduct newer forms of testing, the sheriff said.
DNA was eventually collected from Yeary’s mother and sister, and a comparison of her dental X-rays was done to confirm her true identity.
Yeary’s mother said her daughter called her in 2008 wanting a ride back home, but the mother was unable to help her at the time, according to Waldschmidt. The mother never heard from her daughter again after that summer call.
While Yeary’s family searched on their own for Amy, a missing person’s report was never filed, the sheriff said.
Yeary was a victim of human sex trafficking who spent time in Milwaukee and Chicago in the weeks leading up to her death, according to Waldschmidt.
“Identifying Amy Yeary is a big step forward in this complex and ongoing investigation, however there is still much work that needs to be done to determine how or why she lost her life,” the sheriff said.
Anyone with information about Yeary’s death is asked to contact the Fund du Lac County Sheriff’s Office at 920-929-3380.