On March 30, 1980, the partially decomposed body of a young woman was found on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. She was determined to be Caucasian, between the ages of 20-30, and estimated to be about 5’5” tall and approximately 120lbs. The young woman was wearing a size 12 “disco style” dress. No hair, scars, jewelry, or identifying items were found on her body.
The Sandusky Police Department tried desperately to learn the identity of the young woman. Working the likely theory that someone was responsible for her death, police searched for a missing woman that would fit this description. Sandusky PD contacted other jurisdictions but came up empty. Without a confession or knowing her identity, the case would go cold.
The United States Marshals joined the investigation after finding an old teletype from 1980 in another missing person’s cold case file. Then in 2021, the Porchlight Project got involved.
The Porchlight Project is a nonprofit dedicated to lending special help to cases of abduction and murder that have gone cold in Ohio. The Porchlight Project offers a variety of services and resources to victims, including but not limited to media services, organizing ground searches, funding for DNA testing, and private investigations.
In the Erie County Jane Doe case, The Porchlight Project offered to completely fund the effort to discover this Jane Doe’s identity. Sandusky Police Detective Eric Costante then sent a tissue sample to Bode Technology, a forensics lab that works closely with the Porchlight Project.
Forty-three years after a woman’s body was found, police have verified her identity as that of Patricia Eleanor Greenwood, born in 1948. She has previous addresses listed in several Michigan towns, including Traverse City, Bay City, and Saginaw.
This case, and similar cases, highlight the successful outcomes that can happen when advanced technology combined with the expertise and tools available to Genetic Genealogy is applied to cold forensic cases.
The genealogy work done by Bode Technology led to a tree in which twelve children from the same family were given up for adoption in Michigan. Detective Costante then spoke to one of the surviving brothers, who revealed that he had not heard from his sister, Patricia Greenwood, since around the time the body was found in Sandusky. A further interview with a surviving sister suggested that Patricia may have been a sex worker at the time of her disappearance.
The Sandusky Police Department is grateful for the assistance of the United States Marshals, Porchlight Project and Bode Technology for their assistance with this investigation,” says Detective Eric Costante.
Sandusky Police confirmed Patricia’s identity on March 30, 2023, 43 years to the day after the discovery of her body. Her death is considered a possible homicide and they are releasing her identity in the hopes that someone from Michigan or Ohio may remember Patricia and who she was with around the time of her disappearance.
Being able to give Patricia Greenwood her name back is the first step in finding the justice that she deserves. Thank you to the brilliant folks at Bode for their wonderful work. Bode continues to impress. Their assistance to those in law enforcement is making it more difficult for bad people to get away with bad things. Detective Costante and the Sandusky Police Department never gave up on this victim, even after all of these years. Now it is time for the public to come together and provide information about Patricia Greenwood to the detectives. Patricia needs your help.
If you knew Patricia Greenwood, please get in touch with Sandusky Police at 419-627-5980.
If you would like to learn more about The Porchlight Project and how you can get involved, go to www.PorchlightOnline.org