Hey y’all. Sorry for the missed post, but I’m back on track with another identified Doe! The Doe known as the Tiger Lady was unnamed for just over thirty years. Though she got her name back in November of this year, her story is still not over. What happened to Wendy Baker in October of 1991? Let’s explore.
On October 26, 1991, the partially decomposed body of a young woman was found in Warren County, NJ. She was just off of the road near an interchange of three major roadways – Interstate Route 80, US Route 46 and State Route 94. She had a tattoo of a Bengal tiger on her left calf. Her left ear was pierced multiple times. It is possible that her right ear was as well, though her remains were too decomposed to verify. The manner of her death was ruled to have been a homicide, though the actual cause of death was and still is undetermined.
The effort to identify does in New Jersey specifically is only just getting started. Across the country, even. There is a concentrated effort to use genealogy to solve cold cases of all varieties. Unsolved sexual assaults, rapes, murders, does…if the perpetrator left DNA, there is a chance to find them using genetic genealogy. The genetic genealogists in this case were able to trace the family tree all the way to direct grandparents, which is fairly unusual. After testing the “Tiger Lady’s” DNA against a family member’s, it was determined that her real name was Wendy Louise Baker. Baker’s parents had passed in the time since her disappearance, though her uncle and cousin stated that they believed she had just chosen to stay away from the family voluntarily.
There don’t seem to be any theories that the investigators have publicly spoken about, but there are two that I want to speak about here. First, there is the ever-present theory whenever a young woman goes missing: human trafficking. Typically, the theory of human trafficking seems too far-fetched to fit, but in this case I do not think we can rule it out. We do not know who Wendy was associating with before her disappearance, or if she was being groomed. The fact that she was found nearby an interchange of major roadways could also lend itself to this theory. The second theory is the crime of opportunity theory. Wendy was described as a bit of a wanderer, a bit lost. Her cousin said she bounced from place to place. It definitely seems likely that she may have met the wrong person while bouncing around, trying to find herself and her place. Perhaps she was hitchhiking and whoever picked her up took advantage of the situation, things got out of hand, and Wendy ended up dead. This could also explain why she was found so close to the interchange.
If you have any information regarding the murder of Wendy Baker, please contact the New Jersey State Police at 800-709-7090. It has been three decades of Wendy not having her name. Let’s hope it does not take longer for her to get the justice she deserves.