Why was Jane Doe not under her tombstone?

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The far west side of St. Joseph Cemetery looks like it does every day, nothing out of the ordinary or out of place. If you didn't know, you'd never guess Wednesday volunteers dug a three foot hole to try and uncover Jane Doe. Unfortunately, the unidentified woman was not under the tombstone marked "Jane Doe."

The question is why? The Hancock County coroner and other volunteers did a lot of work to pinpoint the location of her remains from a picture taken shortly after she was buried.

Earlene Kornman has been voluntarily looking after the cemetery for ten years now and was worried that despite their efforts, it would be hard to find the mystery woman's remains.

"This is the pauper section where the families didn't have the money or didn't want to bury their people, so the county would put them in cardboard press boxes and they would bury them out here," Kornman said.

She knows the history of the cemetery better than anyone else, but she still has many questions about who is buried in the section near Jane Doe because the county did not keep any records.

"They are side by side by side. They buried about 500 to 600 people in this section," Kornman said.

Several years ago, Kornman and her friend who helps take care of the cemetery learned about Jane Doe from the Doe Network. Kornman is the one who raised money to buy Jane Doe a tombstone and she often put flowers on her grave.

"I thought of Jane Doe as like a daughter. It broke my heart to think no one knew she was there," Kornman said. "We kind of felt like someday, someone would come look for her."

When Kornman found out a judge was allowing the body to be exhumed, she was both excited and nervous.

"I was happy, if they could have found her family, I'd like to see her family have closure. I'd love to see her go home again, so I was just praying that was her yesterday."

Once the skeletal remains were uncovered, officials knew right away things were not adding up. The person buried under the Jane Doe tombstone had teeth and Jane Doe did not. Just to be sure, officials took measurements, but none of those match the autopsy of Jane Doe either.

"I think she's more over this way toward the road," Kornman said.

At this time, officials do not know if they will be allowed to try to exhume Jane Doe again.

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