Authorities identify body of missing teenage girl found in NJ woods 30 years ago
One of New Jersey’s most baffling missing persons cases has now been partially solved after 30 years.
State officials have been able to identify a body found off Interstate 80 in 1991 using DNA. Known as “Tiger Lady” because of her distinctive tattoo, authorities now say that the body is that of 16-year-old Wendy Baker, of Pennsylvania.
“I had dropped her off at my nephew’s house, rolled down the window and she told me she loved me. I told her I loved her and she walked away,” says Desi Baker, the victim’s uncle.
That was the last time Desi saw his niece before she vanished.
Wendy’s body was found on Oct. 26, 1991. Hunters traipsing through a wooded area near a truck stop at the confluence of I-80 and Route 94 stumbled upon her body.
“She was partially decomposed. There was an autopsy that was done on the body that indicated and found that this was a homicide,” says Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer.
The only clue was the large tiger tattoo on Wendy’s left calf. But for 30 years she remained unidentified.
“As a result of developments in DNA and genetic genealogy, we were able to revive this case,” Pfeiffer says.
Wendy Baker was positively identified using these methods.
“I’m glad that we do know, but I’m very sad we lost my niece,” says Desi Baker.
Desi says that the most emotional moment for him during the announcement was an unveiling of a picture of Wendy as she was 30 years ago.
“It’s surreal, the fact that we now know that Wendy is gone, has made it very hard for us,” he says.
But the one mystery that still remains is who is responsible for Wendy Baker’s death.
“It takes someone that knows something to come forward and tell us. That’s what we’re going to need in this case to solve the actual crime,” Pfeiffer says.
Anyone who may have information on the case should contact the New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit at 609-882-2000 Ext. 2444.