Lake Forest Jane Doe (1983) now identified


In April 1983, the skeletal remains of an unidentified individual were discovered by children in a culvert in what is now Lake Forest, California. Lake Forest is located just southeast of Santa Ana. After responding to the scene in the area of ​​Old Trabuco and Canada roads, searches were carried out to recover other remains belonging to the individual. Upon examination, the remains were determined to be those of a likely black or mixed-race woman. The woman was between 5'3″ and 5'6″ and between 18 and 24 years old. The woman was determined to be the victim of a homicide.

In August 2010, details of the case were registered in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) under the number UP7655. Several forensic renderings of the woman have been published over the years. Despite extensive efforts by law enforcement investigators to identify the woman, no matches were found and the case remained cold due to a lack of viable leads.

In 2022, the Orange County Sheriff's Department submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas, in hopes that advanced DNA testing could help finally identify the woman. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract from the forensic evidence and used forensic-grade genome sequencing to establish a complete DNA profile of the unknown woman. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was forwarded to the FBI's Forensic Genetic Genealogy Team and the FBI team performed the necessary work to generate new investigative leads on the case.

With these new leads, investigators contacted a distant genetic relative of the victim, who suggested that forensic renderings of Jane Doe be posted on a Facebook group for Jane Does and Missing Women of the 1970s and 1980s. a month after publication, a woman contacted investigators and said she believed Lake Forest Jane Doe might be her missing mother. Lake Forest Jane Doe is now known as Maritza Glean Grimmett, a Panama native who married a U.S. Marine in the summer of 1978 and gave birth to a daughter. At the end of 1978, the family moved to the United States. The family resided in Columbus, Ohio and Millington, Tennessee from late 1978 to mid-1979. In July 1979, the couple began divorce proceedings. Maritza told her sister she was going to California. Her family never heard from her again. She was 20 years old at the time of her disappearance.

Investigators are actively investigating Maritza's murder. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Investigator Bob Taft at 714-647-7045 or [email protected]. Anonymous tips can be submitted to OC Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS. 855-847-6227) or at

The identification of Maritza Glean Grimmett represents the 39th case in the state of California where authorities have publicly identified an individual using technology developed by Othram. Most recently in Oxnard, California, Gertrude Elliott-Littlehale, born 1864 and died 1915.

Funding for the advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy used in this case was provided by NamUs, a national clearinghouse that helps the criminal justice community investigate and solve missing persons cases, no identified and unclaimed throughout the United States and its territories. NamUs is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is operated under contract with Research Triangle Institute International. We are grateful for the support of RTI, NamUs and the NIJ.

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