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Her family thought she ran away. 45 years later, they now know she was killed in Baltimore County

McKenna Oxenden, Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

When officers showed up at Edward Fetterolf’s job and said they wanted to talk about a murder investigation, he knew exactly what they were talking about.

Then, they showed him a photo.

“As soon as I saw it, I immediately knew it was her,” he said. “In my mind, I remember her as when I last saw her. She never grew up in my mind.”

Last month, detectives told Fetterolf that after 45 years they finally figured out who the “Woodlawn Jane Doe” was — his sister.

Margaret Fetterolf was just 16 years old when she was killed. Family members told detectives that the teen went missing in 1975. About a year later, they found her body was found strangled, wrapped in a white sheet with her hands bound behind her back near Lorraine Park Cemetery — but police wouldn’t identify the body as Margaret until 2021.

A woman on her way to church on Sept. 12, 1976, reported spotting a van near the cemetery to police. Officers found the body they would identify decades later as Margaret wearing beige jeans, a white short-sleeved shirt and a rawhide necklace. Police at the time thought she was in her late teens or 20s. She was about 5 feet 8 and weighed 159 pounds.

 

The brown-eyed and brown-haired girl was believed to have been sexually assaulted. The drug chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic medication, was found in her system.

It would be more than four decades before police were able to accurately determine her age or name.

Tips initially poured in, but waned as the years passed. Then earlier this year, county police had a breakthrough with additional DNA testing. Those results were crucial in helping identify Fetterolf, authorities said.

About 7,800 of Maryland’s more than 24,500 homicides have gone unsolved from 1980 to 2019, according to Project: Cold Case analysis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. But with each passing year, the ability to solve more cases because of DNA and other breakthrough technology has increased.

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