Cold case homicide victim identified 44 years after body found along Texas highway

Self-proclaimed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to the woman’s killing in 1984, police say

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A slain Texas woman whose body was discovered on the side of a highway more than four decades ago has finally been identified.

The woman, who police say was killed June 21, 1979, and found along Highway 290 in Elgin, had been referred to as Jane Doe. Elgin is roughly 200 miles south of Dallas, east of Austin.

The initial investigation into the woman’s death was unsuccessful but in 1984 self-proclaimed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to the slaying, according to the Bastrop County sheriff’s office. While incarcerated, Lucas claimed he committed hundreds of murders although a Dallas Times-Herald investigation later proved that to be untrue and Lucas recanted some of his confessions.

Officials said last week that Lucas is still the primary suspect in the case and no other suspects have been identified, KEYE-TV reported, but they are keeping the investigation open for the time being.

Identifying Jane Doe

In May 2019 Bastrop detectives began re-examining the case and the Texas Rangers’ previous investigation.

A month later, the woman’s body was exhumed from her grave in the Elgin Cemetery in order to collect DNA samples but authorities were still unable to create a full DNA profile.

A second exhumation with help from Othram Labs was conducted in September 2022 to collect additional DNA samples, and at the beginning of this year, the lab was able to successfully create the DNA profile for the woman.

To read more, visit our partners at the Dallas Morning News.

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