Pollen analysis could provide missing link in 40-year-old cold case

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Pollen Analysis Could Provide Missing Link in 40-Year-Old Cold Case

In 1976, a woman's body was found near a cemetery in Baltimore County, Maryland –– wrapped in a sheet with her hands bound. For 40 years, she's been known only as the "Woodlawn Jane Doe."

But new evidence is shedding some light on the case, and investigators now believe she could have been from the Boston area.

SEE ALSO: Indiana woman missing since 1974 found living in Texas

A scientist with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol identified a certain kind of pollen on her clothing that's possibly linked to Boston's Arnold Arboretum.

"We found the mountain hemlock and cedar plant, and it still has the tag on it from when it was planted in 1969," Detective Dave Jacoby told WJZ-TV.

Woodlawn Jane Doe cold case
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Pollen analysis could provide missing link in 40-year-old cold case
Detectives get a break in 40-year-old cold case "Woodlawn Jane Doe" suggesting she came from Boston. @cbsbaltimore https://t.co/1TKeBPx80C
Wow: 40 years later pollen on clothing may offer clue to mystery of 'Woodlawn Jane Doe' https://t.co/j534K7b9Kd by @aliknez
Who is Woodlawn Jane Doe? #WoodlawnJaneDoe https://t.co/VaYFNVxR6s ^JW https://t.co/AeRpotqUs4
#ICYMI: BPD Cold Case Unit Assists Baltimore County PD in 1976 Woodlawn Jane Doe Case https://t.co/Z5u9rTHzZ2 https://t.co/rBf9CQJtOH

The Woodlawn Jane Doe's head was also found covered by farm seed bags that were only sold in Massachusetts.

"I think there's someone out there that knows who this young lady is. I think there's someone out there who knows who's responsible for disposing of her body," Detective Jacoby said.

That same police representative told the Baltimore Sun, "There are people out there going through yearbooks from the high schools in Boston."

Motives and suspects are hard to find when investigators don't know a victim's identity, but pollen analysis is being called on more frequently to help.

Last year the body of a child in Boston, known as "Baby Doe," was identified with the help of pollen found at the crime scene. Her mother and her mother's boyfriend were charged in her death.

Related: Other notable cold cases in the United States:

Notable cold cases throughout history
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Pollen analysis could provide missing link in 40-year-old cold case
A photograph of Lizzie Borden appears in the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, in Fall River, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. The owner of the site of the 1892 double murder has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent a new museum and shop in Salem from using the name of the infamous former Sunday school teacher who was accused in the hatchet deaths of her wealthy father and stepmother. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Coroner Samuel R. Gerber of Cleveland, Ohio, who has investigated Cleveland's 12 "torso murders," examines a plastic dummy which he received in the mail, shown Feb. 16, 1939. "Somebody," he opined, "possibly the torso killer himself, is playing grim jokes on me." (AP Photo)
Bucks Row, now Durward Street, east London, where the body of Mary Ann Nichols, victim of Jack the Ripper, was found lying across the gutter. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Short has become one of the most investigated murder victims in history. The aspiring actress' brutal murder has commanded Hollywood's attention for decades: Tinseltown theories about her killer are as common as celluloid. (AP Photo)
These are three victims of a killer who calls himself "Zodiac" and brags to police by letter of his deeds, in San Francisco and the northern California areas. Left to right: San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine, shot to death last Saturday; Cecilia Shepard, 22, student stabbed to death three weeks ago; and Bryan Hartnell, 20, who was stabbed but lived. (AP Photo)
Bloomfield Police Chief Robert Snell fields questions from reporters Thursday, August 1, 1975 about the mysterious disapperances of former Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa's family reported him missing after the ex-union boss failed to come home Wednesday night. Police in this Detroit suburb say they have no clues as to Hoffa's whereabouts. -- (Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (AP Photo)
Dian Fossey plays with a group of young mountain gorillas in Rwanda's Virunga Mountains in central Africa. She is one of a group of Anthropologists who study animals such as the gorilla. (AP PHOTO) 10/05/1982
Defendant John Henry Carpenter talks with his attorney Gary Fleischman in a Los Angeles courtroom, Ca., June 1, 1992. Carpenter, 64, was arrested for the 1978 slaying of his friend and actor Bob Crane of the television show "Hogan's Heroes." Carpenter was acquitted of these charges by a jury in 1994. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
 The site where 6 year old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996. (Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)
** FILE **Rap star Tupac Shakur spits in the direction of reporters as he leaves state Supreme Court in New York, in this July 5, 1994, file photo. Shakur died on Sept. 13, 1996, the victim of a drive-by shooting. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews/FILE)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 18: Rapper Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, aka Chris Wallace rolls a cigar outside his mother's house in Brooklyn. (Photo by Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Donna Norris poses next to a photo of her daughter Amber Hagerman, January 4, 2011, who was kidnapped 15 years ago while riding a bicycle near Norris mother's home in Arlington, Texas on January 13, 1996. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

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