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DNA Doe Project revives decades-old cold case of dead woman found in Kilgore

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:40 PM CST
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A 20-year-old East Texas case is active again involving a woman’s remains that have yet to be identified.

In December 2000, hunters found the remains near a creek off of Spinks-Chapman Road, north of Kilgore.

Now the DNA Doe Project has joined the investigation in an effort to discover the woman’s identity.

Among the first to arrive on scene 21 years ago was a young detective who now is the Gregg County District Attorney.

“Some hunters found skeletal rains off the railroad tracks at Spinks-Chapman road,” said Gregg county district attorney Tom Watson.

What investigators found at the original scene was very little: Human remains and some clothing. The woman was noted as being between 4-feet and feet 2 inches tall.

“We searched all the missing persons reports, tried to find anything that would lead us to who this woman was,” Watson says.

The DNA Doe Project will now employ some of its methods in the hope of uncovering new information. The DNA Doe Project is a nationwide non-profit that has cases like this submitted to them by law enforcement agencies.

“It starts with bones or tissue or blood samples collected at the time that are in storage. Process it to determine if there’s enough DNA to proceed to whole sequencing,” says DNA Doe project worker Pam Lauritzen.

Forensics determined the body was a female, 30-to-50 years old.

DNA results from Parabon Nano labs, showed she was almost entirely native American.

“We take the matches we find in jet-match then the genealogists they’re working the family tree to locate common ancestors. And having that resolution, having those answers to the mystery is important,” Lauritzen says.

Authorities believe the woman died sometime between 1999 and 2000.

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