DNA Doe Project

A woman whose remains were found along a Kilgore road is one of the recent cases that the DNA Doe Project has undertaken. The group works to identify John and Jane Does with genetic genealogy.

The DNA Doe Project, a national nonprofit that seeks to identify John and Jane Does using genetic genealogy, has added a Kilgore case to its projects and is hoping to help Kilgore police identify a woman whose body was found along Spinks Chapman Road.

Human remains were found Dec. 23, 2000 between a railroad track and a creek in a wooded area along Spinks-Chapman Road about five miles northeast of Kilgore. Clothes found at the scene were a white Adidas shirt with black stripes on the sleeve, blue jeans, white bra and panties, and brown leather shoes from Mexico.

Forensic investigators determined the remains to be female, 30-50 years old, approximately 4’0 to 5’2 tall, weighing about 115 lbs. While initially thought to be African-American, DNA results from Parabon Nano Labs, Inc. indicate she was almost entirely Native American. The analysis also showed the woman had black hair, brown or dark eyes, and light brown skin. Authorities believe the woman died sometime between 1999 and 2000.

If you have information about this case, please contact Joey Chitwood, Detective Sergeant at Kilgore Poilce Department, 903-218-6905, joey.chitwood@cityofkilgore.com.

This is the third Kilgore-area case that the DNA Doe Project has taken on in recent years.

In May, the group brought new details in the case of unidentified human remains found almost two decades ago in Gregg County.

The DNA Doe Project recently released new information about skeletal remains found May 21, 2002, in the Liberty City area. The organization said it has narrowed the age of the woman to between 17 and 25 years old and says she was white with an unrepaired cleft palate.

According to the group, the woman might have relatives in Raleigh County, West Virginia; Patrick County, Virginia; or Surry County, North Carolina. Her possible relatives’ surnames include Bowman, Niten/Knighton, Grey and Jessup.

The DNA Doe Project released the updated information on the 19th anniversary of the discovery of the remains.

The DNA Doe Project also helped to identify a woman who had been known as “Lavender Doe” after she was discovered in October 2006 on an oil lease off Fritz Swanson Road north of Texas 31.

The DNA Doe Project announced in January 2019 that it had identified Lavender Doe. The following month, the sheriff’s office released her name — Dana Lynn Dodd. Dodd’s family traveled to Longview from out of state in September 2019 for a ceremony to lay to rest the woman who had finally been identified.

In December 2020, Joseph Wayne Burnette was sentenced to 50 years for Dodd’s slaying and another 50 years for the slaying of another woman in Longview.

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