In October 1994, human remains belonging to an unknown woman were found in a wooded area under a bridge in Hancock County. Investigators thought that the remains were likely there for several months before discovery.
The woman had appeared to be a white female with short brown hair, approximately 5’1” to 5’4” in height, and between 30-50 years old at the time of death. Hancock County detectives subsequently opened an investigation into the unknown woman’s death.
The unknown woman was eventually referred to as Hancock County Jane Doe. With few clues to the woman’s identity, the case went cold. The unidentified persons case was entered into NamUs (UP4862) in 2009 but traditional forensic methods did not yield answers on the case. Although early investigation into the case was hampered by a lack of basic information or viable clues, members of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department remained open to new methods and opportunities to identify the deceased.
In August of 2021, Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Ted Munden contacted Joanna Johnson, a forensic scientist with the Indiana State Police Laboratory, and inquired about genealogy DNA testing. The Indiana State Police Laboratory performed some initial DNA extraction, and the sample was provided to Othram Inc. in March of 2022.
Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman. In the summer of 2022, Othram scientists returned the profile and the investigation continued.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, working in conjunction with the Indiana State Police Laboratory used genetic genealogy to develop investigative leads pointing to the unknown woman’s identity. The leads were confirmed through additional testing and established Hancock County Jane Doe's identity as Doreen M. Tiedman.
Pictures included are an artist’s clay rendering of the victim that was completed using her bones, and a photograph of the actual victim after identification.
Doreen was born on June 8, 1959. She would have been 34 years old at the time of her death. Doreen was from Cleveland, Ohio, and was known to hitchhike throughout the United States. Doreen’s last contact with her family was in January of 1994. Doreen was officially listed as missing in May of 1996 with the Cleveland Police Department and entered into NamUs (MP20366) in 2013.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department is now asking members of the public to share what they know regarding the life and death of Doreen M. Tiedman.
Anyone with information about this case, including events or circumstances leading to the disappearance or death of Doreen M. Tiedman, are asked to call the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at (317) 477-1199.