Sumter's 1976 John and Jane Doe remains identified, to be revealed


A 44-year-long search for answers in Sumter County’s John and Jane Doe mystery finally ended after authorities reportedly identified the man and woman who were killed in 1976.

The identity of the two victims was discovered by the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit that identifies unidentified deceased persons using forensic genealogy.

The two were shot to death in the chest, throat and back off Interstate 95 on Aug. 9, 1976, according to the DNA Doe Project’s description. However, Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker said the autopsy report showed they shot in the chest, back and head.

The two carried no money, but investigators believed they were well-to-do foreigners who may have been victims of a carjacking.

At first, investigators thought the two were brother and sister, but DNA testing proved they had no familial relationship.

The woman was suspected to be white and between the ages 18-25. 

The male was suspected to be white and between the ages 18-30. 

According to Deputy Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the man was from Pennsylvania, and the woman was from Minnesota, not Wisconsin as other outlets previously reported.

No arrest has ever been made in the case.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday to provide an update on the cold case.