Woman speaks out after learning Vacaville ‘Jane Doe’ was her mother


The daughter of the woman whose body was labeled “Jane Doe” after turning up dead in a Vacaville field nearly 30 years ago is now speaking out. 

Law enforcement was recently able to identify Cynthia Bilardi’s remains because of advancement in fingerprint technology. 

Her daughter, Caitlyn Johnson, told KRON4’s Maureen Kelly that she hopes someone comes forward with information on how her mother died. 

Johnson had been looking for her birth mother for decades.

She was taken away from Bilardi because of her mother’s substance abuse and homelessness. 

Johnson was just about 1 years old when she was placed into foster care and later adopted, as were her other six brothers and sisters. 

Bilardi was last seen by her family in 1989. 

Then in April of 1991, some construction crews, who were breaking ground at the Premium Outlet Mall off Nut Tree Road in Vacaville, came across the body of a woman. 

Police had been trying to identify her ever since. 

Because she had been dead a few weeks when they found her, the only fingerprint they could get from her was unusable. 

That was until new technology allowed for a better read of the old print which was matched to those taken when Bilardi was arrested in the 80s. 

Soon after, Johnson was notified by police that the woman she had been searching for was dead. 

She said the news was devasting. 

“It gave me closure in a way that made it clear that I no longer know she’s no longer suffering here on earth and I truly believe she’s in a better place but you know that there are still no answers as to the cause of her death that’s my number one priority and finding out what caused her death,” she said. 

Bilardi, whose maiden name was Merkely, was 38 years old when she died. 

There was no sign of foul play but the cause of death could not be determined so police consider it a suspicious death case. 

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