A woman held in an Ohio jail who so desperately wants to avoid identification that she burned her fingertips in an attempt to get rid of her fingerprints may have Kennebec County connections.

Detectives in Allen County, Ohio, say the woman has been in jail there for more than a month after she was arrested on charges of using a phony Maine birth certificate to get an Ohio identification card.

Investigators with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in Lima believe the woman, who goes by the name Julia Bay Wadsworth, is wanted somewhere in connection with a serious crime.

A search of her computer revealed efforts to get information on destruction and healing of finger skin to obscure fingerprints, as well as the methods of criminal extradition from Ohio to face charges in Augusta or Kennebec County in Maine.

Photos of the woman were transmitted to Kennebec County deputies who distributed it to other law enforcement agencies in Maine.

“So far, no one has been able to identify her,” said Ryan Reardon, chief deputy of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. “If she’s wanted, we want to bring her to justice.”

Reardon said he got a call Monday from Gary Hook, a detective with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, asking for help in the case. Reardon said his office researched records but couldn’t find anything conclusive that identifies the woman.

While the woman told officials she was born in Bangor to a woman named Jane Wadsworth, there is no record of her birth, and she has no Social Security number, he said.

Hook contacted the Morning Sentinel about the case early Thursday. He said the woman, believed to be about 40, has been in custody in Ohio about a month and is in jail under the name Jane Doe.

In addition to checking out what procedures would be used to extradite someone from Ohio to Kennebec County to face criminal charges, the woman also had done computer research on ways to conceal one’s identity, how to get a passport to go to Russia from Alaska, and how to cross the Bering Strait.

When interviewed in Ohio, the woman claimed to be a victim of human trafficking as a child, Hook said. She voluntarily agreed to be fingerprinted by the FBI, but when she showed up to be fingerprinted with a civil attorney, she had cream on her hands and told officials she had fungal dermatitis, according to Hook. When she was asked to go to the bathroom to wash the cream off, she left.

Law enforcement officials did not say if she had succesfully removed her fingerprints.

The woman has gone to great lengths to conceal her identify, including using a material to increase the size of her nose, he said. A comparison of photographs taken for the ID card and at her booking photo show considerable differences in her appearance. The Ohio detectives say the woman managed to change the shape and bulk of her nose in an effort to conceal her true appearance.

Hook said the woman’s computer searches for information about how to destroy fingerprints and learn about extradition practices led authorities to believe she is trying to conceal her identity to avoid prosecution of a crime.

The woman also allegedly searched online for other information that detectives believe shows a desire to assume a false identity to flee from the law.

“Further evidence, such as searching for states that do not require a Social Security number for a driver’s license, as well as multiple applications in three states for Social Security numbers, lead us to believe that she is trying to establish a new identity of Julia B. Wadsworth,” Hook said. “The investigation has revealed that Jane Doe is attempting to establish herself this identity with the hope of obtaining a passport to leave the country.”

He said a DNA sample ultimately acquired was submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification for processing through the national database.

Kennebec County deputies distributed the woman’s photo and description to other sheriff’s offices and police departments in Maine in an effort to find information about any connections to the state.

“It’ll be great if we could get her identity,” Reardon said.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said she read the Morning Sentinel story on the woman online and printed it out so that employees of her office could attempt to identify the woman.

“At this time we are not able to identify the woman in the picture,” Maloney said Thursday night.

“We’ve gone through our pending grand jury cases and we’ll continue to see if we can, but at this time, we cannot.”

She had moved earlier this year to Ohio from Fort Myers Beach, Fla., where she cared for an elderly person who eventually died, Hook said. The family with whom she was living in Florida then asked her to go to Ohio to take care of a 95-year-old woman.

The woman is being held on charges that she tampered with government records, a felony under Ohio law. She had a fake Ohio state identification card, prompting an investigation by that state’s motor vehicle department, according to Hook. The department discovered that she had used a fake Maine birth certificate, he said.

Allen County sheriff’s officials went to the home where she was caring for the 95-year-old woman, and she ran out the back door, according to Hook.

When she was arrested and taken to jail, she fought six corrections officers as they tried to get a DNA sample, he said.

Lima is in the northwest corner of Ohio, about halfway between Dayton and Toledo.

A call to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney for comment about whether the woman may fit the description of anyone either missing or wanted in Kennebec County was not immediately returned Thursday.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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