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Finding the family of Apache Junction Jane Doe

Investigators discover new lead to help identify unknown woman
Posted at 12:37 PM, Jun 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 01:18:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Corporal Marshall Harshman with the Apache Junction Police Department is excited about a new discovery.

The department recently got new details in the 28-year-old mystery surrounding the case of Apache Junction Jane Doe.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Apache Junction police have been trying to solve a 28-year-old cold case and mystery

A man walking his dog found her body on a desolate dirt road on the morning of August 6 1992.

She was between the ages of 16-18 at the time of her death and was determined to be half Black and Hispanic through DNA. Her body had been the desert for nearly five weeks.

“We have developed a new lead. Through the DNA Doe Project, we were able to identify someone who was a first or second cousin to our Jane Doe,” Harshman said.

Investigators were able to find the names of at least three blood relatives through genealogy, but detectives could only reach one of them.

“That individual gave us the name of Bernhard Lyon Neumann,” Harshman said.

That particular relative had simply heard of Bernhard Neumann's name in the family tree, but that was it. Police also say they’re having a hard time tracking him down and aren't sure if he still has that name or was adopted at some point in his life.

“They were very surprised about it and had no idea there was an investigation and no idea there was any kind of relationship and of course now would like to see this come to an end,” Harshman said.

Another note, police want to clarify exactly why they're desperately trying to find Neumann.

"We want to make it abundantly clear sufficiently clear that Bernhard Neumann is not a suspect in this case. In fact, we don’t know how our Jane Doe died. We are strictly interested in identifying who he is so we can possibly figure out who she is,” Harshman said

According to investigators Bernhard Lyon Neumann is a very close relative to Apache Junction Jane Doe. He was born in 1953 near Darmstadt and Eberstadt Germany to a woman named Else Maria Neumann. His father was an African-American service member, but that’s all police were able to find out.

"We’re not really sure if that’s his name now he may have been adopted. We know that somehow or another that he was in the United States at some point, but we don’t know if he still has the name Bernhard Neumann,” Harshman said.

As the case inches closer to being solved, you might have the missing piece that can finally give investigators what they need to give Apache Junction Jane Doe a name and proper burial. We're told that researchers were able to eliminate surnames from the list of possible relatives during the process.

"We’re just hoping that somebody recognizes the name or the town as part of their history, the history of their family and be able to connect us with the right people so that we can put this to rest find out who our Jane Doe is,” Harshman said.