Michelle Busha: Blue Earth State Trooper Hitchhiker Murder On ID’s ‘Jane Doe’

Michelle Busha, the missing hitchhiker who was murdered by state trooper Robert Leroy Nelson more than 30 years ago, will be the subject of a documentary that will air on Investigation Discovery this Tuesday night. Who Killed Jane Doe will follow the case of a Bay City, Texas, teen who disappeard without a trace as her family miles away searched for her whereabouts for many years. The truth of what happened to Michelle Yvette Busha wouldn’t be known until her body was positively identified in 2015. The Who Killed Jane Doe episode detailing the case is “Runaway Jane.”


The Inquisitr brought you the story of Michelle Busha in 2015 after KARE-11 broke the news that the Jane Doe’s identity had been found. Michelle Busha was just 18-years old when she left her parents’ home. The teen was a go-getter, a young woman who went after what she wanted in life. And what she wanted more than anything at the time was to be free.

1980: Dead Corpse Found Floating In Blue Earth Ditch

The last time Michelle Busha’s family saw her was in December 1979 as she was headed to Louisiana. They were used to the rebellious teen attempting to go her own way. But when she stopped calling, and no one in the family had any communication with her, worried family members feared the worst. What they didn’t know was that Michelle Busha had hitchhiked all the way from Texas to Blue Earth, Minnesota, where she met the devil.

Authorities say that devil turned out to be a man who was hired to protect the American people. Instead, former state trooper Robert Leroy Nelson preyed upon women and children to satisfy his evil desires.


Texas Teen Hitchhiker’s Last Ride

Michelle was used to hitchhiking. It was probably nothing to her to strike up a conversation with someone who stopped to offer her a ride. But that was the last ride that she’d ever take. Robert Leroy Nelson killed the teen and dumped her body, somewhere along Highway I-90. Her partially decomposed body was found several days later in a swollen drainage ditch that was filled with about 7-feet of water. An autopsy report concluded that the victim had been strangled before she was raped and tortured.

Police officers were summoned to the scene after a farmer who lived in Blue Earth, near the Blue Earth River, contacted them when he saw the woman floating in the ditch on his property. The heavy rains accounted for the ditch’s swell.

The family held out hope that somehow Michelle Busha was still alive. They were shocked to find out that she was murdered in 1980, and the body had been buried as a Jane Doe that same year.


Nine years after the murder, Robert Leroy Nelson confessed to the killing. The Doe Network provides the following details.

“He admitted to the murder and under hypnosis provided authorities with some details about the victim, including tossing her black purse into a nearby grain storage facility. The purse was never found. He described her as wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans, hooded sweatshirt, Army fatigue jacket and carrying a black leather purse and possibly wearing a gold ring with a pearl and small diamond inset. He further revealed that prior to the victim’s death she had talked about the Milwaukee, WI area and thought she may have been traveling to Oregon or Idaho.”

Robert Nelson was eventually sentenced to life in prison. He was also sentenced to 15 years for killing Michelle Busha. However, at the time, her family had no idea about the body or the trial since police were unable to identify her.

The identification was finally made when the story broke in 2015 after authorities matched DNA from the exhumed remains to members of the Busha family. Had the family not contributed the DNA samples, no one would have ever known what happened to Michelle Busha.


A Little Something Extra About The Michelle Busha Case

  • When detectives pulled the body from the ditch, Busha was lying face up and had a cord around her neck. Floating alongside the body were thick corn stalks and trash, according to Mavdisk.
  • The woman’s hair was also shaved, except for one small spot. At the time, it was thought that the murder could have been connected to a cult of some sort.
  • The thick calluses on the dead woman’s feet gave a small clue that she was a hitchhiker or runaway.
  • Nelson pulled off Jane Doe Michelle Busha’s fingernails while she was still alive, according to the Faribalt County Register.

Tune into Who Killed Jane Doe this Tuesday, March 28, at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Recently, the disappearance of Lynn Messer was aired on ID.

[Featured Image by Jim Mone/AP Images]