DNA Doe project revives decades-long cold case of dead woman found in Kilgore

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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – A 20-year-old case in east Texas is once again active, involving the remains of a woman that have yet to be identified.

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

Now the DNA Doe Project has joined the investigation in an attempt to uncover the identity of the woman.

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

“Some hunters have found skeletal rains on the railroad tracks on the Spinks-Chapman Highway,” Gregg County District Attorney Tom Watson said.

What investigators found at the place of origin was very little: human remains and clothing. The woman was noted to be between 4 feet and 2 inches tall.

“We searched for all missing person reports, tried to find anything that would lead us to who this woman was,” Watson said.

The DNA Doe project will now use some of its methods in hopes of uncovering new information. The DNA Doe Project is a national nonprofit organization that has cases like this brought to it by law enforcement.

“It starts with samples of bone, tissue or blood taken as they are stored. Process it to determine if there is enough DNA to complete the sequencing, ”says Pam Lauritzen, collaborator of the DNA Doe project.

Forensic scientists determined that it was a woman between the ages of 30 and 50.

DNA results from Parabon Nano Laboratories showed that it was almost entirely of American origin.

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

Authorities believe the woman died between 1999 and 2000.

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