Detectives have linked the Jane Doe found Sept. 28, 1995, to a second unidentified woman found dead Oct. 6, 1995, in Tolland, Mass. Both women were killed by large-caliber gunshot wounds to the head.
Not only are police confident that the homicides are related, but also they think the two women might be related, as well. New Britain police have been working their case for 14 years but have been frustrated by their inability to identify the woman whose body was found behind a Hartford Road shopping center.
They even distributed a photo of the woman to the media, but made no headway. Through continued investigation, and cooperation with their counterparts in Massachusetts, police now believe that both women have ties to the Albany, N.Y., area.
They held a press conference there Tuesday afternoon to release information about each case, photos and sketches of the women, and photos and information about clothing and other items the women had in their possession, said New Britain police Lt. James Wardwell.
"We have a young girl in New Britain," Wardwell said. "We have a female that's a little older up in Massachusetts. These women are somebody's wife, mom, sister, daughter. Somebody loves these girls. Somebody knows them. Somebody's going to recognize them."
Identifying each woman would be a key step in the investigation, Wardwell said. That would enable detectives to contact friends and relatives and learn with whom the women had been in contact.
The New Britain Jane Doe is described as a woman believed to be 17 to 20 years old, about 115 pounds, 5 feet 3, with brown hair and eyes, and a pierced navel with a silver navel ring. She was wearing a brown and beige striped Croquet brand pullover shirt, size small; white Union Bay brand bib overalls, size small; white athletic socks and size 61/2 LA Gear shoes. She also wore a gold herringbone necklace and a ring with a pink stone on her right hand. She was also wearing a Gitano brand watch with the face on the inside of her wrist.
The Massachusetts Jane Doe is described as 30 to 45, 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 5, 120 to 130 pounds. She wore prescription glasses, had upper and lower partial dentures, and at the time of her death was wearing size 71/2 Passport shoes, size 8P Bill Blass jeans and a Trends pullover sweat shirt with a distinctive pattern. She was also wearing four rings, a gold colored Sergio Valente wrist watch and drop-pendant earrings.
New York state troopers have set up a hot line for Albany-area residents to phone in information about the two women, and New Britain Sgt. Darren Pearson and Det. Larry Betterini were in Albany to attend the press conference.
Pearson said that he and Betterini were hoping that the hot line would get some calls after media outlets reported on the two cases and that they would be able to follow up on any leads with New York investigators.
The body of the Massachusetts Jane Doe was dumped in a parking lot at a state park campground. There was no camping gear near her. The body of the New Britain Jane Doe was wrapped in two sleeping bags, Wardwell said. There's also forensic and other evidence that links the two women, Wardwell said.
The Massachusetts Jane Doe was linked to the Albany area through a tax stamp on a pack of Carlton cigarettes found in her possession and a unique shirt that she was wearing. That shirt was sold at only three places in the Albany area.
Forensic evidence has led police to believe that the two women spent some time in the Albany area and did not simply pass through it, Wardwell said.
Also, the New Britain Jane Doe was found within a day of her killing. The Massachusetts Jane Doe was found eight days later, but had been dead for about eight days, Wardwell said. Both women were also dropped in places with relatively easy access to highways, he said.
Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call New Britain police at 860-826-3000, Massachusetts State Police at 413-862-4511 or New York State Police at 518-783-3211.
Online Extra: Visit courant.com/newbritain body to view photos of evidence police displayed Tuesday at the press conference in Albany