Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Identity of missing mom provides one piece to murder mystery

The woman's nude body was found floating in the muddy Brazos River in 1975, her features unrecognizable save for her flawlessly painted scarlet fingernails and flowing yellow hair. [...] after 37 years, the 22-year-old mother has been identified by Harris County forensics experts as Gloria Faye Stringer, opening an investigation into her possible murder and inflaming the long-held suspicions of Austin County Justice of the Peace Dennis R. King, a man committed to the case for decades. King and Austin County Sheriff's investigators will try to determine how a woman who owned no car and couldn't swim ended up naked and dead in a river 87 miles away from her last known address. Among other theories, officials are looking at whether her death is linked to the unsolved serial killings of young women and teens abducted from the Houston and Galveston areas in the 1970s. Different sheriffs got elected, deputies retired or moved on and part of the file was lost ... if King had died or left office this may never have been solved. Three days later, boys fishing near their subdivision in Sealy spotted a body afloat in the fast-moving Brazos River, about two miles upstream from where the river crosses Interstate 10, said King, who arrived at the scene as a 29-year-old rookie in his first year as Justice of the Peace. [...] an artist for the Texas Rangers, Suzanne Birdwell, produced a portrait of a 19-year-old with a pug nose, large pouting lips and widely-spaced oval eyes whose face was framed by a popular 1970s hairstyle. [...] a combination of 11 different clues helped convince doctors Jennifer Love and Dwayne Wolf of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to positively confirm Stringer's identity earlier this month.

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