Human skull discovered in Wellington leads true crime perpetrator to believe remains are answer to 80-year-old cold case


The discovery of a human skull buried in the backyard of a Wellingtonian’s home has led a true crime perpetrator to believe it may be the answer to an 80-year-old cold case.

A Wadestown resident found the human remains while gardening over the weekend, prompting police to launch an investigation.

True crime author Scott Bainbridge has weighed in on the find and believes it may be the remains of Jean Martin who disappeared in the same area in 1945.

“Jean Martin was a 23-year-old lab technician from Hawkes-Bay and worked in what became the DSIR in Wellington in 1945.”

Bainbridge told the project that Martin went for a bush walk on a Sunday afternoon with a friend, the friend decided to go home after the walk but Martin decided to continue.

“She was never seen again and this is one of our biggest mysteries.”

Bainbridge said Martin’s disappearance was not widely covered at the time because World War II had just ended.

“The news of her disappearance was really relegated to the back pages and the smaller articles, so no, she didn’t get the coverage she should have.”

Bainbridge said skull tests would be needed to prove the remains are indeed Martin’s, but said his unique facial features could also help.

“Jean had protruding front teeth and was missing a few teeth, so maybe that’s pretty easy to tell.”

Martin’s little sister, Peggy, is still alive and is now in her nineties. Bainbridge said if the remains belonged to Martin, that would be wonderful.

“I would say Peggy and the rest of the family would have given up a very long time ago, but for that to happen now, fingers crossed that it was Jean would be wonderful.”

A police spokesperson told Newshub that a scene search has been completed at the Wadestown home.

“Police will continue to investigate to establish the origin of the remains.”

Watch the full interview above.


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