The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has taken a step forward in solving a cold cases after investigators, using genetic genealogy, confirmed the identity of a woman found dead in an area between Woodland Park and Decker in 1993.
Rebecca “Becky” Redeker, 20, was known as “Jane Doe” for decades after her death. The woman, who spent much of her life in the Colorado Springs area, was found when Sheriff Tony Spurlock was a sergeant with the office.
“I remember seeing her at the scene,” he said at a press conference held on Aug. 13 to announce Redeker’s identification.
Redeker also lived in the Manitou Springs area from 1985 to 1988 and attended Coronado High School in 1989. That year, she was living in a group home in Colorado Springs. In 1990 and 1991, she lived at a group home in Denver and in 1992 she moved around to multiple other areas include Black Forest, Green Mountain Falls and Woodland Park, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
Twice in 1989, she was reported missing. In March of 1990, she was reported missing again, according to DCSO.
She was found dead in June 1993 near the Rainbow Falls campground of the Pike San Isabel National Forest, Spurlock said. Investigators believe she had already been dead for 72 hours when she was found and that she was likely homeless at the time of her death.
Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth was also at the sheriff’s office at the time, working as a detective.
“As a new detective in 1993 I had no idea this case would haunt me for 27 years,” she said at the press conference. “She is someone. She is no longer our Jane Doe. Thank God for that.”
Now, the sheriff’s office is working on its next phase of the case: the death investigation.
“We are asking for anyone who knew Becky, who recognizes any of these photographs of her, anyone that she was with in the summer of 1993, anyone she might have talked to … or anyone who saw her, if they could contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office” Spurlock said. “We really need that.”
Anyone who knew or interacted with Redeker can call 303-784-7815 to speak with the lead detective in the case.
The sheriff’s office was able to get in touch with Redeker’s remaining family, which includes her brother and mother, Spurlock said.
“You can imagine how difficult it is for them to have not known where their daughter was,” Spurlock said.
The Metro Denver Crime Stoppers organization announced during the press conference that they have increased the reward for information leading to an arrest in the case to $10,000.
So far, Redeker’s cause of death is unknown and there are no persons of interest in the case, Spurlock said.
Detective Shannon Jensen, who works with DCSO cold cases, identified Redeker by combing through genealogical data on the database GEDMatch. Using DNA from Redeker, she found the woman’s fourth cousin and then began working to identify closer relatives, Jensen said. Throughout the process, she used 65 family trees consisting of 4,400 possible relatives of the woman.
“We had to do a lot of digging,” she said.