LIMA — A woman determined to conceal her identity — she burned her fingertips so bad deputies were unable to obtain her fingerprints — appeared at her first court hearing Tuesday under the name Jane Doe.
The woman refuses to identify herself other than the name Julia Bay Wadsworth, which investigators believe is false. She has taken elaborate steps to conceal her identity, including fighting six correction officers in the jail during an attempt to take her DNA in hopes of identifying her, said Detective Mark Baker of the Allen County Sheriff's Office.
The woman has refused to give her real name. Any information she has provided has been found to be false, Baker said.
“We don't know who she is,” he said. “Our feeling on it is she is wanted for some crime. Obviously something of great severity.”
Baker and other detectives have worked a countless number of hours trying to identify the woman who has made various stops around the country with no home they can locate.
She has been in Ohio since February when a family she was living with in Florida sent her to Lima to take care of their 95-year-old mother. She had been caring for an elderly person in Florida who died and that family took her in for a few months, Baker said.
She had been in Florida since at least July 2013.
The woman came on the radar of detectives when the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles launched an investigation against her after she fraudulently obtained a state identification card, Baker said.
She used a birth certificate she fraudulently obtained from Maine along with some persuasion to get the Ohio identification card, Baker said.
She has refused to give a true name and has given false information on the names of people she claimed are her parents.
“They don't exist in the real world, either,” Baker said.
When deputies went to the home she was staying in Sherwood Park off Cable Road last month as the caregiver for a 95-year-old woman, she tried to run out the back door. She has been in the jail ever since refusing to identify herself, Baker said.
Every step along the way the mystery into the woman's identity grew and produced clues that continued to have detectives believing she is wanted for a serious crime somewhere.
Detectives searched her computer and found various Internet searches on how to conceal a person's identity. There was a search on the length of time federal investigators look for someone. She asked Google if a heat source could kill her DNA. She had repeated searches on ways to destroy her fingerprints and checked on every state's procedure to obtain an identification card, Baker said.
“At this point in the game, no one hides her identity like she does for an overdue speeding ticket. There's something more serious here,” Baker said.
Additionally, she searched information about obtaining a passport, researched Russia and how to get across the Bering Straight, a distance of 51 miles between the tip of Alaska and Russia, Baker said.
The woman said she had never been to school, never obtained a birth certificate or a Social Security number, never held a job and never paid taxes or filed a return, Baker said.
During the BMV investigation she had agreed to allow the FBI to take her fingerprints but showed up with an attorney and so much lotion on her hands she was asked to remove it to be printed. She claimed she had a skin disease but when the agent asked her about it, she then walked away, Baker said.
“The FBI couldn't hold her. They were just doing a voluntary fingerprint for the Social Security Administration,” Baker said.
Baker and other detectives said they believe the woman is highly intelligent. They found information on her computer showing she obtained a GED diploma under a false name and excelled in her testing.
She said she was born Nov. 1, 1973. Baker said she is around 40 years old, perhaps a little younger.
She is being held on a charge of tampering with records, a third-degree felony, and made her first court appearance Tuesday. She used her hand to block the media from taking photos of her face.
Judge David Cheney set her bail at $50,000 cash and a pretrial for Tuesday. Baker said she can be held indefinitely if she's not identified.
Detectives have exhausted nearly every way they have or could think of using to find her. They've tried social media such as Facebook and posting her picture and what little information they have about her on websites in hopes of catching a break.
Baker said somewhere, someone knows her. It's just a matter of that person coming across her picture or other information that leads to identifying her and learning whatever trouble she is in, Baker said.
“Somewhere out there the truth can be proven,” he said.
Anyone who may have information that can identify the woman is asked to call Baker at 419-993-1422.