Woman Linked to 36-Year-Old Cold Case Murder After DNA Test: "I Am Living in My Own 'Dateline' Episode"

Jane Doe’s identity was a mystery—until now.

Most people submit their DNA to companies such as 23andMe to discover interesting background details about their ancestry—but one woman found out she was linked to a cold case murder from 36 years ago. Jackie Vadurro, 31, was shocked to get a call from a cold case detective claiming to have connected her DNA kit with a long-unsolved murder, and authorities believe she may be the key to helping crack the case.

"I was so taken aback," Vadurro says. "I knew I hadn't done anything wrong, but when the police call you about a murder, you're like, 'Oh my goodness, what am I involved in?'" Here is what the cops know so far.

Shock Call From Detectives


Vadurro detailed her experience on TikTok, expressing disbelief at what happened. "I am living in my own 'Dateline' episode," she says. "I got a 'No Caller ID' call on my phone. It was a [cold case] homicide detective from San Diego."

Vadurro says the detective believes her DNA is connected to a 1986 cold case murder where an unidentified woman was shot and left by the side of an isolated San Diego road. 

Never Reported Missing


Thanks to new advances in DNA testing, the cold case Jane Doe was connected to Vadurro. "No one ever reported her missing," Vadurro said in her video. "[The detectives] do not know who she is. And now they think that I might be her family member because of my DNA that I uploaded on 23andMe."

Big Break For Cold Case


Once Vadurro confirmed this was a real investigation, she was happy to help the detectives. "Within, like, 30 minutes [detectives] had called me back and were like, 'Jackie, thank you so much. This is the biggest break we've gotten in this case in a whole year,'" she says. "'You are a DNA match to the Jane Doe victim.' The detective was like, 'Jackie, you could be the break in this case, and you're basically Ground Zero in this case right now.'"

Second Or Third Cousin


Vadurro says police believe she was either a second or third cousin of Jane Doe. "[My family and I] still have no idea who she is or where she came from," she says. "They think she was an illegitimate child, which is why no one's reported her or anything." Detectives believe Jane Doe was from Vadurro's mother's side of the family, an illegitimate child of her mother's great grandfather.

@hittheroadjackie Living in my own Dateline episode… wait until you hear the results!!😳😳😳 #coldcase #coldcasefiles #dateline #fyp #truecrime #23andme #dnatest ♬ original sound – Jacquleine Vadurro

Headstone and Burial


Jane Doe is also linked to another cousin in New York. There are plans to get her a proper headstone and burial once her identity is confirmed. "They said she was shot once in the chest," Vadurro said. "They don't think she was a prostitute because she was dressed really nice in a nice skirt with nice sandals on. She was a really pretty girl, well kept. She might have moved from Mexico to the United States, and just lost contact with her family … It's so freaking sad. Me and this Jane Doe share DNA, she's part of me. I'm glad that I'm able to bring her story to light, and hopefully [help] catch the horrible person who killed her."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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