This article has some more on the disappearance and identification of Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, which I blogged about the other day. Included in the article is a color photo of Boothe-Wilson. It looks like she was light-skinned and had straight hair, which might explain why the body, when it was found, was thought to be a white woman.
They got the DNA sample from “a stamp from a letter purportedly sent by Boothe-Wilson.” That’s clever. Sometimes investigators have to get creative. I read about another article today that was accomplished by fingerprints, and they got the prints, not from an arrest or military record, but from a pawnshop. When you pawn something you have to give a fingerprint.
(The stamp thing wouldn’t work for me. I loathe the taste of them and I buy stamps with sticky backs, or I use a wet sponge to dampen them.)
So it looks like Randi really did send that goodbye letter. It says the cause and manner of death is unknown, as of course is how she made her way to North Carolina. Such a strange case.
Per this article, a woman who was found in a wooded area in Jacksonville, Florida North Carolina [sorry I am dumb] in December 1995 has been identified as Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson, missing since October 1994.
I’m pretty surprised by this. The image of the unidentified woman shows what appears to be a white person with light brown hair. Randi was black. She also didn’t disappear anywhere near Jacksonville; she went missing from New York City, something like 1000 570 miles up the coast.
The photos I have of Randi are black and white though, and not in the best quality, so it’s hard to tell what she looked like. And she left some goodbye notes, so perhaps she left New York voluntarily, traveled to Florida North Carolina and met her end there.
I’m glad her family will finally get SOME answers, anyway, although the identification seems to ask a lot more questions.
So I’m trying to ease back into things, still not feeling the greatest, and I ran Nelda Louise Hardwick‘s name through Newspapers.com and came across an awful story.
Nelda may have been killed along Interstate 10 in Hancock County, Mississippi on May 10, 1998, four and a half years after her disappearance from Lake Charles, Louisiana on October 14, 1993.
The unidentified woman was a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle on the interstate. In 2013, Nelda’s family identified the dead woman as her based on photos of the body.
The coroner was quoted as saying there was just “one chance in a thousand” that the body wasn’t Nelda, and speculated she was held captive the entire time and somehow managed to finally escape, only to be killed on the road.
An exhumation was duly ordered, but when they dug up the Jane Doe’s grave in St. Joseph Cemetery, they found a MAN in the coffin, not a woman. The judge ordered the proceedings stopped, writing, “Unfortunately, it appears that the remains at the Jane Doe headstone were not those of Jane Doe. Further, the chief medical examiner advises it is obvious that the location of her grave is unknown.”
So Nelda is still listed among the missing, and this Jane Doe is now missing as well and will probably NEVER be identified now.
I cannot imagine how devastating this must have been for Nelda’s family.
Margret Dodd disappeared from Beckley, West Virginia on September 7, 1977 — nearly forty years ago (I won’t quibble over two months). She was 27 years old and was witnessed being dragged, screaming, into someone’s car. James Hendree subsequently demanding a $10k ransom for her safe return. An FBI agent posed as Margret’s dad to meet Hendree for the handoff, and wound up shooting him after an altercation.
Margret’s body was found on Bolt Mountain in 1993, but it wasn’t identified until now. According to this article, her family recognized the clothes and jewelry found with the body, and mitochondrial DNA confirmed the match.
I’m happy for her family. The police are still investigating the case and there might be prosecutions in the future, as it seems unlikely that Hendree acted alone.
Per Charley Project Irregular Jennifer C., Raymond Lee Matlock, who disappeared during an elk hunting trip in Washington in November in 1998, was identified last December. His remains were actually found less than a month after he disappeared; it appears he drowned in the Bone River, which feeds into the Pacific, and his body drifted some 125 miles up the Washington coast to Vancouver Island.
Such a long journey is unusual for drifting bodies, and that’s a big part of the reason Matlock remained unidentified for 18 years. But I think this case is also a good example of why detailed clothing descriptions are important wherever possible. The body was found wearing a distinctive t-shirt with a drawing of a truck, surfboards and the words “Jimmy Z” — something the police at the time might help identify him, except that if anyone knew what Matlock was wearing when he disappeared, they never bothered to say.
The management of the Washington cemetery where he was buried combined forces with a local crematory to exhume his remains, cremate them and ship them to his mom in Texas at no cost to her. That was nice of them.
Remember my happy announcement that Linda Pagnano was identified with help from Carl Koppelman’s forensic art and Websleuther Ice190’s research? Well, erm, it turns out the announcement was a bit premature. Carl got the news from Linda’s family that dental records proved it was her, but it seems the medical examiner wants to wait for DNA results to make it official.
Sorry about that, y’all.
That said, I’d be VERY surprised if this body turned out to be someone other than Linda. See for yourself at the above link; all the stats match and she very closely resembles Carl’s drawing of the UID.
Per Carl Koppelman, Linda Marie Pagano has been identified. (That link’s not gonna work much longer; I intend to remove her today.) The seventeen-year-old had been missing from Akron, Ohio since September 1, 1974, but I think she wasn’t added to NamUs till last year, and I just added her case last month. She was beautiful, doe-eyed. Her body was found in Strongsville, Ohio, less than an hour from Akron, in February 1975, only a few months after Linda disappeared, but no one made the connection until now. In fact the UID wasn’t even listed on NamUs until June of last year. Carl says,
An online sleuth discovered this forgotten case while researching cemeteries for graves of John and Jane Doe’s. Websleuths member Ice190 [whom I know, she’s a Facebook friend] obtained the casefile via a FOIA request.
(Muttergrumble. Just how many more of these forgotten UIDs are out there?)
Just to show what an amazing, talented forensic artist Carl is, I’m going to show his drawing of the UID. He calls it a “rough reconstruction” because he had only the side view to work with, and no lower jaw. Yet it looks amazingly like Linda. Here’s Carl’s drawing on the left, and a photo of Linda on the right (I cropped Carl’s drawing and made it smaller because I don’t have a bigger picture of Linda).
Linda had been shot in the head, and her hands and feet were deliberately removed. Her mandible was missing also, though I’m not sure whether this was done by the killer or by nature.
Since the killer made a considerable effort to make sure Linda wouldn’t be identified, my guess is he or she was someone Linda knew. Given how long ago she died, there’s a good chance her killer is also deceased. But at least her family will get the opportunity to bury her decently.