When a motorist pulled over along a Tennessee highway due to vehicle trouble in March 1985, that driver made a terrifying discovery that sparked a nearly four-decade search for a woman’s name and killer.
After nearly 40 years, state authorities have identified the remains found between mileposts 29 and 30 of Interstate 24 West in Cheatham County. She was Michelle Lavone Inman, only 23 years old.
At the time her remains were discovered, agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation worked with forensic anthropologists from the University of Tennessee, who determined that she was a white female.
These experts estimated that she had died two to five months before the discovery.
Investigators at the time, however, have exhausted their leads. They could not determine her identity and had to use the placeholder name, Jane Doe.
Time passed. Technology has grown, including a new law enforcement tool: genetic genealogy, which is often used to identify victims and track down suspects using family DNA.
“In December, as part of the Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative, TBI officers submitted a sample of the woman’s remains to Othram, Inc., a private Texas-based laboratory, for forensic genealogy DNA testing. Scientists have provided information on possible relatives related to the woman,” they wrote.
From there, investigators tracked the victim’s brother to Virginia.
“Officers have contacted a family member and confirmed that he has a sister he has not heard from in over four decades,” the TBI wrote.
Medical examiners compared her DNA to the remains and were ultimately able to identify the woman as Michelle Lavone Inman.
The authorities’ next step is to catch his killer. The voices of the TBI hope that the public can provide information that can solve Inman’s murder.
From the authorities:
If you have any information about this homicide, especially information about who Michelle Inman may have been with prior to her death, or if you recognize any of the clothing from the scene, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND. Or, send an e-mail to [email protected]
More Law&Crime coverage: Family of 1986 cold-blooded murder victim asks for public’s help in identifying killer
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]
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