Exhumation finished, but outcome is unclear

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The dig to exhume Jane Doe's body is over. But the unanswered question is whether investigators dug up the right body.

Nobody will say on the record if the skeletal remains unearthed from a Hancock County grave were the bones investigators hoped to find.

WLOX News reporter Michelle Lady was invited by Hancock County's coroner to witness and report on the exhumation. Early Wednesday evening, she saw crews find skeletal remains and then bury those remains without taking a bone fragment to send off to a lab in Texas.

That could be an indication the wrong body was exhumed, because the coroner said a Texas lab would analyze the DNA from that bone to help identify Jane Doe. The woman was found dead on Interstate 10 in Hancock County on May 8, 1998. No charges were filed related to the accident and she was never identified.

The coroner hoped to prove the body in that grave belonged to Nelda Louise Hardwick of Lake Charles, LA. Hardwick's family has pushed for the exhumation believing the woman buried in St. Joseph Cemetery is their missing loved one.

Right now, Coroner Jim Faulk is not talking about what his team found or didn't find in that grave.

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