Woman in ‘disco dress’ identified 40 years after body found on beach

Woman in ‘disco dress’ identified 40 years after body found on beach

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This is the dress the young woman was wearing when her body was found on the Lake Erie beach (The Porchlight Project, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office)

On March 30, 1980, the body of a young woman was found on the beach of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio.

The woman’s body had been partially decomposed – but Sandusky police guessed she was around 20-30, 5’5″ and 120 pounds. The Jane Doe was wearing a ‘disco-style’ dress – but no other no hair, scar, jewelry or item of identification was found on her.

The woman’s identity remained a mystery for weeks and months, which turned into years and decades. In 2021, the Porchlight project reviewed the case. The non-profit organization was established to provide free investigative services, funding for DNA testing, and media support for cases each year. Members of the Porchlight Project contacted police and offered to fully fund the effort to uncover the identity of the woman in the disco dress.

A tissue sample was sent to Bode Technology – a lab that provides DNA testing on current and pending cases. Lab techs were able to create a DNA profile that led to a family tree including 12 children who were given up for adoption across Michigan.

Investigators were able to speak to one of the surviving brothers who was able to identify the woman as his sister, Patricia Greenwood. The brother said he hadn’t heard from her since the body was found in Sandusky.

Greenwood was born in 1949, making her 31 at the time of her death. She had addresses tied to several Michigan towns, including Traverse City, Bay City and Saginaw. After speaking with one of Greenwood’s surviving sisters, investigators have reason to believe she may have been a sex worker at the time of her disappearance and death.

More law and crime coverage: Missing teacher’s car found submerged with body inside

Sandusky police believe Greenwood’s death may be a homicide and they are hoping someone who knew or remembers her would come forward and talk to them – even if their information is small.

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