Jane Doe's grave marker now clean; family awaits judge's ruling

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The head stone of "Jane Doe" in Hancock County has been cleaned up so Judge Lisa Dodson can now make a ruling on whether the body can be exhumed for DNA testing.

Friday, the family of a Louisiana woman who went missing 20 years ago tried to convince Judge Dodson that "Jane Doe" is their loved one, Nelda Hardwick. They want the body exhumed and identified.

After the hearing, Judge Dodson did not make a ruling because she wanted time to read through the evidence. Instead, she ordered Hardwick's niece, Lori Test, to erase the writing she made on the grave before the final decision is issued.

In August, Test went to the grave of "Jane Doe" in the St. Joseph Cemetery and wrote "Nelda Hardwick" on the head stone, along with her birth date.

"I guess having a moment of emotion, I couldn't stand the thought that she was sitting in there with out her name on there," Test said Friday of her actions.

Judge Dodson is expected to make a ruling before Friday.

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