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Rahway Jane Doe

Rahway Jane Doe

Murder victim
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Murder victim
Gender female
The details

The Rahway Murder of 1887 regards the murder of an unidentified young woman whose body was found in Rahway, New Jersey on March 25, 1887. She is also known as The Unknown Woman or the Rahway Jane Doe.

Four brothers traveling to work at the felt mills by Bloodgood's Pond in Clark, New Jersey early one morning found the young woman lying off Central Avenue near Jefferson Avenue several hundred feet from the Central Avenue Bridge over the Rahway River. Her body lay at the side of the road in a pool of blood that had frozen in the cold. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear, her hands were wounded, and the full right side of her face was bruised from a terrible beating.


The woman appeared to be in her early 20s, and was described as attractive, with brown hair and blue eyes. She was found clad in a dark green cashmere dress that had been trimmed with green feathers and a fur cape to protect from the cold. She also wore yellow kid gloves, what were described by the papers as "foreign good shoes," a black hat made of straw with red-colored velvet trimmings adorning it, a black dotted veil, and a bonnet. She had carried a basket of eggs. Other belongings were found in the Rahway River.


Her murder was the subject of national headlines and hundreds came to view the body. Investigators had her embalmed body photographed dressed in the clothes she was found in and these images were circulated widely, but neither she nor her killer were ever identified. She was buried in May 1887 next to the Merchants' and Drovers' Tavern in Rahway Cemetery.

At the time of the murder, Francis Tumblety, one of the many controversial purported suspects according to Ripperologists in the Jack the Ripper slayings, was living in New York City twenty miles from the site and one could travel in roughly 35 minutes from Rahway to New York City; one historian has speculated as to the theoretical possibility of significance.

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