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McDonald County Sheriff’s Office working to identify ‘Grace Doe’ in 1990 cold case

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MGN police lights picture(MGN)
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 2:42 PM CDT
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MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Othram Inc., a DNA testing company, to seek information in a cold case that dates back three decades.

McDonald County authorities are working to identify the remains of a person nicknamed ‘Grace Doe.’

The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it is working with Othram to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genealogy in an attempt to identify the victim or find the closest living relatives to the decedent.

According to the sheriff’s office, a couple discovered the decomposed remains of a woman while walking on December 2, 1990. Investigators say she had been hog-tied and was dumped behind a rural farmhouse near Oscar Talley Road in the rural farmlands.

The woman was nicknamed “Grace Doe” by Detective Lori Howard in the 2000′s. Around that time, an autopsy revealed that she had been raped and strangled approximately two months prior to her discovery.

“Grace Doe” was found restrained with six different types of bindings: nylon and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline. Investigations determined that the paracord was military grade rope that was exclusively sold to the military in the 1990′s.

While investigators initially thought that “Grace Doe” and her abductor were from the McDonald County area, they now believe that this is not the case. The woman had extensive dental work that was not normal for the rural county of McDonald in the 1990′s, leading investigators to believe she was from a bigger city in the four-state area.

Authorities contend that “Grace Doe” was abducted elsewhere and dumped on the rural dirt road. She is McDonald County’s only unidentified body.

“Grace Doe” was described as of white or native American descent around 5 feet tall, 120 pounds and 21-31 years old. She had shoulder length, dark auburn hair. She was wearing a denim jacket with a white t-shirt, “Lee” brand blue jeans, and white high-top tennis shoes, according to the sheriff’s office.

Additional information in the investigation remains limited, leading to the decades-long cold case.

This case is logged in NamUs as UP5321. If you have any additional information on the cold case, contact the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office at 417-223-4319.

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