FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM SHERIFF GENE LILLARD- Windy Point Jane Identified
In August of 2020, Commander Ted Valerio approached me and asked to submit samples to CBI for new and advanced technology in Forensic Genetic Genealogy aka Familial DNA analysis. The cost was initially set at around five thousand dollars to submit the DNA material. The fee has since been waived. The green light was given and Investigators Dustin Harlow and Brittany Martinez submitted a letter of request to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for analysis to acquire DNA from the remains and entering the markers into CODIS as well as NamUS. There was hope that testing would result in identifying relatives or to ultimately identify who really is “Windy Point Jane Doe” through third party analysis.
On April 19, 2022, I received a call from CBI Analyst and Forensic Lab and Cold Case Division , Audrey Simkins who asked me if I was ready for some really, really good news. CBI analyst Audrey Simkins told me that the results came back with a positive ID of Windy Point Jane was that of a missing woman from the state of Washington.
By utilizing the DNA and dental, CBI DNA Forensic Scientist DENISE VENSEL was able to process the biological evidence to determine that identity was that of SUSAN HOPPES who was reported as a missing person from Pierce County Washington on August 9, 1993.
Windy Point Jane’s remains were found on July 7, 1994 on the Uncompahgre Plateau in the area of Windy Point on the Divide Road by a citizen who was hiking in the area with family. She in turn notified the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and thus the investigation began on July 8, 1994 to determine who and what happened to Windy Point Jane Doe.
Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas M. Canfield has made notification of next of kin to the Hoppes family.
This case is being investigated by the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and the Montrose County Coroner’s Office as a homicide. As of May 10th Commander Valerio is en route to Washington State to gather information on Susan Hoppes and to meet with Detectives and Private Investigators.
Over the past 28 years there have been several investigators from different Law Enforcement agencies that were involved with the case of “ Windy Point Jane Doe.” It is truly remarkable that technology was able to give closure to the family of Susan Hoppes and to all that was involved in the case. It has always been a goal to determine who she was and what actually happened to her. It has taken a huge team effort and a lots of cooperation from multiple law enforcement agencies, the Montrose County Coroner’s Office, as well as the private investigation sector from the State of Washington to get where we are at today.