The mysterious death of a woman in the US almost 50 years ago has been linked to New Zealand after DNA taken from her body matched some Kiwis.

On August 19, 1971, the skeletal remains of a female were found in the woods off a highway near the border of California and Oregon.

A bloodied hunting knife was found nearby and authorities ruled her death a homicide.

She was never identified and is known only as Annie Doe.

But investigators are closer to finding out her true identity after her DNA was successfully extracted, allowing researchers to track down he family.

Annie Doe was found dead near a US highway 47 years ago.
Annie Doe was found dead near a US highway 47 years ago.

A team of volunteer genealogists from The DNA Doe Project are now working with "numerous" matches and hope to put a real name to Annie Doe in the near future.

The project is a new initiative that uses genetic genealogy to identify John and Jane Does.

According to its website, the group have become "a go-to organisation for law enforcement agencies and medical examiners across the country, helping them solve their most intractable cases".

"We have had amazing success even with cases where the DNA was highly degraded or of low quantity."

They revealed on Facebook this week that some of the matches for Annie Doe were from New Zealand.

The matches are being found on - a website that provides DNA and genealogical analysis tools for amateur and professional researchers and genealogists.

People all around the world can upload their DNA information which can then be searched to connect families.

"We're encouraging anyone from NZ who has tested to upload their results to," said a project spokesperson.

"We don't know that Annie herself was from NZ, but it seems that at least one or more branches of her family ended up there.

"We also have DNA matches with common ancestors from the UK, predominantly from Sussex.


NZ families often originated in the UK and also typically have relatives in Australia."

According to project, Annie Doe was found wearing a Kiwi-made bra.

"Forensic science has determined the girl was a white female between 14 and 25 years of age," they said.

She was 164cm tall and slim with auburn hair.

"She had crooked teeth and was slightly buck-toothed.

"She was wearing a pink, and beige waist length belted coat, a tan long-sleeved turtleneck blouse, a pair of Wrangler jeans, and a pair of square-toed brown leather shoes.

"Based on the jewelry she was wearing, it is speculated she may have a New Jersey connection.

"A decomposed map of Northern California camping facilities was found in her right rear pocket, leading investigators to theorise she was on her way to California."

GEDmatch predicts that Annie Doe might possibly have brown eyes.

"She has an interesting mix of several populations. The three biggest are: North Atlantic, Baltic, and West Mediterranean."

The DNA testing was funded by donations to DoeFundMe which helps DNA Doe Project cover out-of-pocket costs.

The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children also contributed.

Can you help?

Anyone with information on this case should contact the Josephine County Sheriff's Office
by emailing

Or click here for more information
For more information on The DNA Doe Project click here.