McDonald County authorities seek to identify ‘Grace Doe’ found murdered in 1990

Regional News

MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. (KNWA/KFTA) — The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Othram, a private forensic laboratory, in an effort to identify a woman found murdered on a rural road in southwestern Missouri in 1990, according to a release from Sheriff Michael Hall on Friday.

The decomposed remains of ‘Grace Doe’ were found on December 2, 1990, by a couple walking on Oscar Talley Road, a two-mile dirt drive through the rural farmlands of McDonald County. She had been hogtied and dumped behind a farmhouse.

She was given the nickname ‘Grace Doe’ by Detective Lori Howard in the 2000s, because she believed it was “only by the Grace of God” that the young woman’s identity would be found.

‘Grace’ is described as of white or Native American descent, between 21 to 31 years old, between 5’1″ – 5’4″ tall and around 120 pounds. She was wearing a denim jacket with a white t-shirt, “Lee” brand blue jeans, and white high-top tennis shoes.

Her autopsy revealed that she had been raped and strangled approximately two months prior to her discovery. She was found restrained with six different types of binding: nylon and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline.

Investigations discovered that the paracord was a military-grade MIL-C 5040H type II — a rope exclusively sold to the military in the 1990s.

Without more information, the case went cold.

Although investigators initially believed Grace Doe and her abductor were from the area, they now believe this was not the case. Grace had extensive dental work done that was “not normal for the rural county of McDonald in the 1990’s,” leading authorities to believe she may have been from a bigger city in the four-state area.

Oscar Talley Road is located less than a mile from Interstate 49 (71 Highway at the time) and authorities now contend that Grace Doe was abducted elsewhere and dumped on the rural road.

She is McDonald County’s only unidentified body.

The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office is now partnering with Othram in an effort to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genealogy to find the closest living relatives to Grace Doe. More information on the Grace Doe case can be found on NamUs website.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office at (417) 223-4319.

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