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<nettime> case number 98-11430
/m/e/t/a/ on Wed, 22 Sep 1999 17:51:15 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> case number 98-11430



ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (AP) -- The young woman leaped off the top of a
12-story parking garage at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino, apparently
intent on keeping her identity a secret. 

She got what she wanted. Her lack of identification and a mysterious
absence of clues have prevented police from figuring out who she was,
where she was from, and what drove her to suicide. 

No one has come looking. No missing persons report matches her
description.  Her fingerprints do not match any in law enforcement files. 

Her body still lies in the Atlantic County morgue. In a few days, a 45-day
holding period will expire and she will be given over to a funeral parlor
for burial. 

But what will her gravestone say? 

For official purposes, she is case number 98-11430. To police Capt. Gerald
Tibbetts and Detective William O'Neill, the lead investigators in the
case, she is the "Jane Doe jumper." 

"Before I retire, I'd like to put this girl to rest," Tibbetts says,
poring over a manila folder thick with paper but thin with clues. "We
don't know who she is. If we can find out who we've got, we can start
walking backwards in her life and get some answers." 

The mystery began August 23. 

Surveillance camera videotapes show the woman walking alone across a
pedestrian bridge linking the casino with the garage. 

She is white, estimated at 25 to 35 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and
wearing a crew-neck knit blouse, blue jeans, a denim jacket and black
sneakers. 

Her head is down slightly, but she does not appear to be running, crying
or otherwise in distress. Her right hand holds a tissue. 

At 8:51 p.m., the videotape shows her getting off an elevator and walking
into the garage. 

At 8:55 p.m., the call came in to 911. One witness heard a thump and then
saw the body on the ground. Another told police he looked up in time to
see the end of the plunge. 

A blue denim handbag found atop the garage contained no wallet, no
identification, no money, no suicide note. There was only saline solution
for the eyes, lip gloss and makeup. 

Could any valuables have been stolen before police arrived? It's possible,
Tibbetts says. "We don't know if someone didn't get to the wallet upstairs
while all the commotion was going on downstairs," he says. 

For that matter, the handbag may not even have been hers. 

She was no street person. She was clean, her clothes were clean, and she
wore dark eyeliner. She appeared well-nourished, O'Neill said. 

And her body showed hardly any evidence of the fall. "She was in such good
condition when she landed that the medical examiner questioned his own
investigator before opening her up," Tibbetts said. 

There was no hint of prior injuries, nothing to suggest a struggle,
according to the medical examiner, Dr. Hydow Park. He ruled it a suicide. 

There was nothing in her stomach. And no alcohol or drugs in her system. 

There was one abandoned vehicle in the garage, but it was traced to an
unlucky gambler, O'Neill said. 

In almost any other town, developing clues in such a case would be easier. 

But in Atlantic City, an adult Disneyland that attracts more than 30
million fortune hunters annually from all over the world, the odds of
finding Jane Doe's trail are slim. 

"She could have come from anywhere," O'Neill says. 



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