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Caledonia Jane

May 14, 2012

Caledonia Jane

I’ve been writing about missing people for a few years now. I spend a lot of time interviewing the families of the missing, reading and researching issues of the missing and, most of all, trying to make sense of it. I know that the reasons people go missing do not make sense and probably never will. But I have come to an understanding that most people go missing because something went terribly wrong. Maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, trusted a person who they did not know could not be trusted or did not understand the gravity of a situation until it was too late. I do believe that most people go missing because they are innocent victims of deeply immoral criminals. So, even though I don’t understand it, I have come to an acceptance of some of the reasons why people go missing.

However, what keeps me advocating for the missing is that people stay missing. The cold hard truth is that many people may never return to their loved ones because people do not always do the right thing.  I believe for so many of the missing there is someone who knows something. And this leads into the story of Caledonia Jane.

When you look at her photos, it is hard to believe that no one recognizes or misses this sweet faced girl. Caledonia Jane, a name given to her by locals, was found by a passing motorist on the south side of Route 20, one half mile from the intersection of Route 5 in Caledonia on November 9, 1979. She died of two gunshot wounds: one to her back and one to the front of the head. Caledonia Jane was a teenager, her age thought to be somewhere between 13 to 19 years old, though investigators believe she is on the lower end of the age scale, probably around age 14. She was a petite girl, standing only 5’3” and weighing about 120 pounds. She had short, curly brown hair that had been frosted blonde and pretty brown eyes. A waitress had seen the girl the evening before in a restaurant in Lima, New York, but could offer no clues as to who she was with or where she was headed.  She had been dead since the evening before her discovery.

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Investigators determined she was shot by the side of the road, dragged into the cornfield and shot again. Several truck drivers came forward to say they saw the girl hitchhiking. She had mentioned she was headed to Boston. Though it was November, she had visible bikini lines which suggest she had just traveled from a warmer climate. Pollen samples taken from the girl indicated they could only have come from Arizona, California, South Florida or Mexico, suggesting she may have recently traveled to or from one of those places. She was wearing a boy’s multi-plaid, button-down shirt, tan corduroy pants, blue knee socks, light blue panties, a white bra, brown lace up, ripple-sole shoes and a red nylon-lined man’s windbreaker with black stripes down the arms, marked with the inside label “Auto Sports Products, Inc”. She was wearing a necklace made with silver beads and three small turquoise stones. She was also wearing two key chains that were attached to the front belt loops of her jeans. One key chain, in the shape of a heart, was inscribed, “He who holds the key can open my heart.” The other key chain held the key that fit the small silver heart.

Here is what I can’t wrap my head around; why doesn’t anyone miss her? She had to have been someone’s child. She had to be a student in someone’s classroom, gone to a doctor or dentist. She had to have had a friend. Why hasn’t anyone said, “Hey doesn’t Caledonia Jane looks like <fill in the blank>?  I strongly believe that someone somewhere knows who Caledonia Jane is. Only by identifying her can she be reunited with her family and, hopefully, her murderer brought to justice.

She was laid to rest in Danville, New York and grave reads: “Lest we forget an unidentified girl. November 9. 1979. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

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From → The Unidentified

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