We don’t know her real name. We don’t know if she’s someone’s wife, mother, sister or daughter. We don’t know why she came to our community about 10 years ago. We don’t know why she was a homeless person.
We don’t why she rarely, if ever, accepted assistance from caring folks who tried to help her. We don’t know why she refused offers of shelter and put herself at risk by living under a highway bridge.
We don’t know how she kept from dying of heat stroke or freezing to death in her cardboard campsite. We don’t know why she only dressed in black.
We don’t know her real age but she likely was in her early 60’s when a sheriff’s deputy recently found her lifeless body under a bridge on the outskirts of Morehead. We don’t know her cause of death.
Instead of her real name, local residents referred to her as the “bridge lady” because that was all anyone really knew about her.
The county coroner took that tiny body to the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy and for additional tests that hopefully will produce her true identity.
Forensic science might discover if she has metal plates or screws or other surgical or dental devices in her body that could help identify her.
Her fingerprints were screened through various databases, criminal and
otherwise, but nothing was found.
We know she twice was housed overnight in the county jail to protect her from subzero weather but each time she gave a different name.
Some thought she lived on a pension but state and federal agencies require a physical address or a bank account number for such payments.
Meanwhile, no family member has come forward to claim her body or to grieve for her or to make funeral arrangements.
Coroner John Northcutt and other officials will keep trying to identify her but if she remains a “Jane Doe”, a court eventually will authorize her burial in a local cemetery.
But she won’t rest in a pauper’s grave. More than $6,000 has been donated to a Facebook Fundraiser account started by Mike Ockerman to pay for her burial.
However, without a verified ID, she will remain another nameless soul known but to God.
Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@ gmail.com or by telephone at 356-0912.