Forty-seven years after she was found dead in Eastern Ontario, Canadian police have discovered the identity of the “Nation River Lady” using DNA technology.
The dead woman was Jewell Parchman Langford, a Tennessee spa owner who disappeared on a trip to Montreal, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
In 1975, a female dead body was found in the Nation River near a highway bridge in Casselman, Ontario.
The corpse, which appeared to have been strangled, was found with its hands and ankles bound with men’s neckties, with its face wrapped in a tea towel.
Police investigated the apparent killing for years without success, including building a 3D facial approximation of the woman in 2017.
Officers got a break in 2019, when the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto helped create a new DNA profile of the woman, sending the information to a lab in California.
Next, the DNA Doe Project, an organisation that helps investigate cold cases, worked with police to match the DNA profile to a family tree using genealogy databases, and DNA samples from the victim’s nieces confirmed the match.
Police also located and arrested a suspect in the killing, Rodney Nichols, 81, of Hollywood, Florida.
“At that time, her family in Tennessee had reported her missing,” Detective Inspector Daniel Nadeau of the Ontario Provincial Police said on Wednesday, NBC News reports. “While I cannot get into the specifics that will be entered at trial, I can tell you that the accused and the victim were known to each other.”
Nichols, who was charged with murder last year, is subject to an extradition request to Canada.
“Closure, I don’t think that will come until he’s tried in court,” Denise Chung, one of Langford’s nieces, told the broadcaster. “But there is relief that at least we will have her back here with us and we know what happened.”
Nichols hasn’t appeared in court yet or entered a plea, according to the CBC.
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