Ina County Doe identified as woman who went missing on Christmas Eve in 1992

April 02, 2022

On January 27, 1993, in Ina, Jefferson county, Illinois, the severed head of an unidentified woman was found suspended in the bushes in Wayne Fitzgerald state park.

Two girls, aged 10 and 12, discovered the head while running in the area on a small peninsula by Bend Lake. The area was a known camping site that was easily accessible to the public.

According to investigators the perpetrator made no effort to conceal the head and they believed the woman’s head had been tossed from the window of a moving vehicle.

A composite of the victim’s face was created from a post-mortem picture and circulated in the area in the hope that someone would recognize her. In the meantime, she was given the place-holder name: Ina jane Doe.

The victim’s face was recognizable, with light brown mahogany hair in a grown out bob haircut with bangs. Police estimated that the head could not have been there more than two weeks as people had been in and out of the area and would have noticed it. They determined it may have been there for around 2-3 days.

Dental analysis revealed a possible change in economic circumstances or a disregard for dental care and a report noted costly previous work, such as root canals and removed wisdom teeth, coupled with a more recent state of decay.

The victim was Caucasian and estimated to be between the ages of 30 – 50. And it was determined that she may have suffered from Torticollis, or wry neck syndrome, which meant she may have had difficulty turning her head certain ways and might have often spasmed involuntarily. It's thought that her head was likely often turned to the left. The neck condition was thought to have been linked to a past accident, as she also had a healed traumatic lesion on her skull.

Police attempted to locate the woman’s body, searching from both air and land, with assistance from a tactical response team and K9 unit, but were unable to locate the rest of the woman's remains.

The woman’s death was thought to be a homicide, but despite investigators best efforts, they were unable to identify her or any suspect in her murder.

The Ina Jane Doe lay unidentified for 30 years.

In January 2022, the Jefferson County Illinois Sheriff’s Office finally announced that with the help of Redgrave Research Forensic Services they had finally identified the Ina Jane Doe as Susan Lund of Clarksville, Tennessee.

Lund went missing at the age of 25 in 1992 and was last seen on Christmas Eve at her family’s home on 177 Harrier Court in Clarksville. She stepped out to go to a Winn-Dixie grocery store around 4 miles away and was never seen again.

She was reported missing after four days by her worried husband, Paul Lund, and although a search by land and air was conducted two days later, she was never found. Her severed head was discovered around a month later in Fitzgerald State Park, but the link would not be made for almost three decades.

A new composite image was generated using forensic genealogy and DNA analysis and the result was a far cry from the waxy, post-mortem rendering that police initially had to work with.

A year prior, in February 2021, Amy Michael, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Hampshire contacted the sheriff's office offering to look at the case of the Ina Jane Doe again using modern techniques and advanced technology. Samples were obtained and a DNA profile was developed and uploaded into GED match earlier this year, leading to a possible link to missing woman, Susan Lund. Lund's family had never stopped looking for her and one of her siblings provided a DNA sample that confirmed Susan Lund and the Ina County Doe were one and the same.

Susan left behind her husband, Paul, and her 4-year-old daughter, Crystal Starr. An article in the Leaf-Chronicle published 08 Jan 1993, states that Susan Lund was pregnant at the time of her disappearance. Her husband, Paul Lund, was a specialist serving at Fort Campbell at the time.  The article also states that there were sightings of Lund staying at a mobile home in Hopkinsville, KY, at the time and that she was alive and well and living elsewhere, however, Paul Lund never believed his wife would abandon them while on a trip to the grocery store.

While Paul Lund handed his children over to their grandparents and relentlessly put up missing persons posters and handed them out on the streets, police at the time had other ideas of what may have happened.

Sgt. Billy Poor said at the time: “We still have her on the active missing persons list and she's active on the computer. We just don’t have an active search party out searching for her, but we have leads. She was seen in Hopkinsville the week after Christmas by several people. We feel pretty confident the lady is somewhere by her own choice.”

Police closed the investigation after six months and said they were “80% sure” Susan Lund was in Alabama, and despite the fact that no officer had made contact with her at any point to confirm this, articles with headline such as: "Woman gone since Christmas found in Alabama, police believe," were printed in local newspapers.

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