KSP identifies remains found in 2001, non-profit talks about case

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Kentucky State Police has identified the victim of a death investigation cold case from 2001.

On Oct. 9, 2001 KSP initiated a death investigation following the discovery of decomposed remains of an individual at the 12 mile marker of I-65 in Simpson County.

At the time, the identity of the remains were unknown and no leads were available.

Through years of investigation and the assistance of the DNA Doe Project, KSP has identified the victim as 45-year-old Dawn Clare Plonsky Wilkerson of Nashville, Tennessee.

DNA Doe Project worked for around two years to attempt to find the name for the remains.

Missy Koski, the case manager for Wilkerson’s file with the DNA Doe Project, said the moment they found the name for their Jane Doe, it was an incredible feeling.

“I think what keeps us going is thinking maybe there’s a mom out there missing their son or daughter or there’s a child out there missing, you know, their mom and dad. And when you finally find that it’s just a feeling you can’t describe because you’re so sad to know about the person because now you see your name now you see the reality it’s not just a case or a case number,” said Koski.

According to Koski, the identification came after the team was able to find a DNA match from a 3rd cousin once removed from one parents side and a half second cousin once removed from the other parents side.

The cause of death is still unknown at this time.

“So we’re hopeful that now that we release the name and we’ve been able to have positive identification will be able to start having leads come in hopefully people will recognize Miss Wilkerson and will want to help and come forth with maybe some information that they have we always want to make sure people know that no matter how small you think the information might be that there’s no two small piece of the puzzle,” said Kentucky State Police Trooper Daniel Priddy.

If you want to have DNA submitted to a database to help add DNA links for potential matches, make sure you are using sites that allow result sharing and have your online family trees set to public, otherwise, Koski and teams like hers cannot find your information.

“The problem is that a lot of times people get their DNA tested through ancestry.com or 23andme.com but they don’t know that they need to take their DNA from the sites and download it into the computer and then upload it over to FTDNA or Gedmatch,” said Koski.

The investigation continues and KSP requests anyone with knowledge surrounding the death of Wilkerson to contact the KSP Post 3 at 270-782-2010.