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

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 and unsolved murders throughout history
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Pollen analysis could provide missing link in 40-year-old cold case

In June 1893 Lizzie Borden stood trial, later acquitted, for killing her father and stepmother with an ax.

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Foreboding Kingsbury Run, shunned by the timid as the legend of its murders has grown, is indicated on this map by dots locating 10 of the 11 torso murders which have occurred there since Sept. 23, 1935. Police, delving into the lives of the mad murderer's victims, hope to uncover clues which will end the periodic killings. Discovery of photo negatives in the belongings of Edward Andra Ssy, first victim, show Andra Ssy in a strange room which, if identified, may provide a live lead, police believe. As the map shows, the murderer departed only twice from his custom of assailing victims in Kingsbury Run or adjacent Cuyahoga river valley.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

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)

Head shot of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, a murder victim nicknamed the Black Dahlia. 

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Daily News front page dated June, 16, 1990, Headline: IS HE THE ZODIAC?, Police sketch of man who approached latest victim in Central Park last Thursday and asked him his birth date., June 26, 1990 . , Zodiac Killer. , Heriberto Seda. Headlines. IS HE THE ZODIAC ?

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

U.S. labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is photographed at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania in this April 12, 1971 file photograph. Hoffa was switching planes from San Francisco, and was returning to the federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Hoffa was let out of prison to visit his wife, who had been hospitalized with heart problems. FBI teams on May 25, 2006 sifted by hand through dirt from a chest-deep hole in the ground in an intense search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa three decades after his disappearance. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit-area restaurant where he was to meet New Jersey Teamsters' boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, a member of the Genovese crime family, and a local Mafia captain, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone. Hoffa was declared dead in 1982, and numerous books about his life have pinned his disappearance on mobsters who murdered him because they did not want him interfering with their close ties to the union.

(REUTERS/Jerry Siskind)

 The site where 6 year old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996.

(Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)

Black car in which rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot by unknown driveby assassins as he was riding w. friend Death Row records. pres. Marion Suge Knight, who survived shooting, behind police tape at crime scene (Photo by Malcolm Payne/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Police detectives released this composite drawing March 27 of the man they believe killed rap star Notorious B.I.G. in Los Angeles recently. The suspect, a black man in his early 20's with close-cropped hair, was wearing a bow-tie the night of the drive-by killing. Investigators have set up a toll free number for the public to call with any information about the suspect. NOTORIOUS BIG
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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