GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A woman who was found dead in East Texas more than 12 years ago has been identified.
A group called the ‘DNA Doe Project’ announced the woman known only as Lavender Doe has been identified.
Her burned body was found on Fritz-Swanson road, near Kilgore, in October of 2006.
She was believed to be in her late teens or early 20′s at the time of her death.
After years of investigation and interviews, it was DNA analysis that led to finding out who Doe was.
“Gregg County Sheriff’s Office investigators have been trying to identify Lavender Doe since 2006. Thank’s to the great efforts of the DNA Doe Project they were able to identify Lavender Doe,” says Josh Tubb of the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office.
The DNA Doe Project joined the investigation in July, and within 7 months had Doe's identity.
“Name is not being released, but she is not local and not from this area,” Tubb says.
But before that discovery, the process was slow.
Facial reconstruction was done in hopes that someone might recognize Doe locally.
For over a decade after the discovery of Does' body off of Fritz-Swanson Road, there were no clues as to who she was or how she was killed, only that she was a murder victim. But that all changed with the arrest of a suspect in a 2018 missing persons case.
In August of 2018, Joseph Burnette was arrested and confessed to the murder of then missing person Felisha Pearson.
Investigators said Burnette then confessed to killing Lavender Doe.
“Somewhere out there this person has a mother, a brother, a father. They’re more than a sheet of paper,” Josh says.
But most important for investigators, her identity was confirmed.
"Identify her and notify her family," says Tubb.
Lavender Doe’s real name and identity is not being released at this time, as Gregg County investigators say they are maintaining the integrity of the case for prosecution.