Pulaski County authorities identify Jane Doe found in 1981

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PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. — The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and the DNA Doe Project have identified a Jane Doe woman whose body was discovered on May 25, 1981.

Jane Doe has been identified as Karen Kay Knippers. Her body was found at a low water crossing near Dixon, Mo., the victim of an apparent homicide.

After authorities were unable to identify her back in 1981 or any details involving her death she was buried in the Waynesville Cemetery in a grave marked Jane Doe.

In 2012, officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office requested and were approved to relook at the case.

Knippers’s body was exhumed, after the court approved the process, to obtain DNA for use in identification in 2015.

After several universities throughout the years worked to identify the body it was sent to the DNA Doe Project in 2019. In December of 2019, the Project provided a possible name of Jane Doe and a possible relative.

In January of 2020, a relative candidate was found by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office in Alexandria, Va. The candidate said he did have a sister the family lost contact with within the early 1980s.

He then agreed to provide a DNA sample for confirmation.

Finally, in May 2021, the data obtained from the relative candidate and Jane Doe were entered into the Unidentified Human remains and relatives of Missing Persons and were noted to be 19.4 million times more likely to be biological siblings.

Thus the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office was identified as Knippers.

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