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 February 19, 2024

Cold Case Solved As Police Identify Pregnant Woman Found Dead Floating In Basement 32 Years Ago

In 1992, a disturbing discovery was made in a flooded Indiana basement, marking the beginning of a mystery that would take over three decades to unravel.

After 32 years, advanced DNA analysis has finally identified the remains of Tabetha Ann Murlin, a pregnant woman, providing her family with answers but also reopening wounds and unanswered questions about her tragic death.

Tabetha Ann Murlin's life came to a tragic end, but her story remained untold for decades, known only as Mary Jane Doe. It wasn't until a construction worker stumbled upon her remains during renovations in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on May 15, 1992, that her story began to emerge from the shadows. However, with the cause of death undetermined and no immediate identification, Murlin was buried in Lindenwood Cemetery a week later, as the investigation went cold.

A New Hope Through DNA Testing

The breakthrough in the case came when modern DNA testing techniques became available. In 2016, the Mary Jane Doe case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, leading to the exhumation of Murlin's body in 2017. The painstaking process of DNA sequencing conducted by Intermountain Forensics and Ignite DNA in 2023 finally connected the dots back to Murlin's family, thanks to DNA provided by her father, Robert Bowers.

Bowers, who had last seen his daughter in 1988 after she had separated from her husband, Jerry Murlin, was blindsided by the revelation of her death.

The confirmation of Tabetha as his daughter came through a simple cheek swab, linking him directly to the woman who had been a mystery for so long. "I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe she died," Bowers expressed, grappling with the reality that the daughter he thought might still be alive had passed away decades ago.

Unanswered Questions and Ongoing Investigation

With the identification of a fact, the focus shifted to understanding the circumstances surrounding Murlin's untimely death, particularly considering she was pregnant. The Fort Wayne detectives are reassessing the case, with Jerry Murlin, now considered a witness, last having seen Tabetha in 1989, a year after their separation. This detail casts a long shadow, fueling the drive to uncover what happened in the time leading up to her death.

Amidst the resurgence of interest in her case, the community has rallied to support the Murlin family, launching a GoFundMe fundraiser aimed at providing Tabetha Ann Murlin with a headstone worthy of her name, no longer a Jane Doe but recognized and remembered by her true identity.

"She was unidentified for 32 years and named Mary Jane Doe. She was 26 weeks pregnant at the time of her death," Murlin's brother wrote, emphasizing the touching and somber nature of the campaign.

Lessons to Learn From This Tragedy

The resolution of Tabetha Ann Murlin’s case highlights several invaluable lessons. First, it underscores the importance of advancements in forensic science, particularly DNA testing, in solving cold cases. Second, it stresses the crucial role of persistence and hope in the quest for justice, showing that time doesn't diminish the significance of finding answers. Third, it highlights the importance of community support in healing old wounds. However, it's critical to remember that while we strive to make safe choices, crime can affect anyone, and victims are never at fault.

Why This Story Matters

This narrative holds deep significance for the community, serving as a poignant reminder of the advancements in forensic science that can bring resolution to families in mourning. It's a story of resilience, of a family's enduring wait for answers finally met with closure. Most importantly, it's a call to never forget those still missing, a testament that no person should ever remain just a nameless memory.

In conclusion, the long-awaited identification of Tabetha Ann Murlin underscores the power of perseverance, the importance of technological advancements in forensics, and the crucial role of community support. Her story, wrapped in tragedy, brings solace to her family and rejuvenates the conversation around cold cases and the quest for answers, no matter how many years have passed.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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