On May 25, 1981, authorities recovered a body of an unidentified, deceased white female from a low water crossing off Highway MM north of Dixon, MO. The woman, estimated to be between age 25-40, had suffered trauma to her face and had been strangled with pantyhose. Her death is considered homicide. The woman’s race is undetermined, possibly White with a mixture of Native American or Hispanic. The victim was likely born in the United States and had probably lived in Missouri for only a few years before her death, based on an analysis of strontium and lead in the her body. She most likely grew up in Southeastern US. When found she was wearing clothes, but no shoes were located.
NamUS ID UP10222
Date Found May 25, 1981
Race White or Hispanic
PMI 1 Day
Location Dixon, MO
Agency of Jurisdiction
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office
On May 25, 2021, exactly forty years after the remains of a woman were recovered from a low water crossing off Hwy MM, north of Dixon, Missouri, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) and the DNA Doe Project (DDP) announced the confirmation of the woman’s identity as Karen Kaye Knippers. Based on forensic evidence her death is considered a homicide.
In April of 2018, after exhausting all leads, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office contacted the DNA Doe Project hoping to resolve the woman’s identity using genetic genealogy. Due to the difficulty in extracting a viable DNA sample, sequencing did not begin until August of 2019. In October of 2019, sequencing was complete and DNA file was sent for bioinformatics. The DNA file was uploaded to GEDmatch on November 3, 2019. The DNA matches were low, so on December 19, 2019, the DNA results were uploaded to Family Tree DNA which produced several DNA matches in the second cousin range. DDP’s team of volunteer genetic genealogists was able to identify Karen Kaye Knippers as a candidate for Pulaski County’s Jane Doe within a matter of hours.
The DNA Doe Project wishes to acknowledge the contributions of other groups and individuals who helped solve this case: the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and PCSO Det. D.J. Renno who entrusted the case to DDP; the University of North Texas for providing DNA extract; DNA Solutions for extraction; HudsonAlpha Discovery for sequencing; Dr. Gregory Magoon, contracting through Full Genomes Corporation, for bioinformatics; GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA for providing their databases; DDP’s generous donors and our dedicated teams of volunteer genealogists who work tirelessly to bring victims home.
DDP also wishes to acknowledge the financial contribution made by PCSO and Det. Renno who raised funds which they donated to DDP “to pay it forward”. Their special efforts will contribute to the potential identification of another agency’s Doe.
For more information about the search for the identity of Pulaski Co Jane Doe:
KY3 TV Springfield Article
Last Updated: December 23, 2021