Woman found dead in 1971 identified; authorities now looking for killer

Woman found dead in 1971 identified; authorities now looking for killer

Crime


/ CBS/AP

Will genealogy sites help solve cold cases?


Police hope genealogy sites will help solve more cold cases

02:45

Investigators have identified the body of a woman found over 50 years ago in New Hampshire as a Massachusetts resident who was supposed to see her family off at the airport as they prepared to move to Texas, but never showed up.

Forensic testing and assistance from the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit that uses investigative genetic genealogy, helped identify Katherine Ann “Kathy” Alston, 26, of Boston, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said Monday.

Almost fifty years after the remains of a woman were found off a logging road near the town of Bedford, the New Hampshire State Police and the DNA Doe Project can confirm the woman’s identity as Katherine Ann “Kathy” Alston.https://t.co/2qx18hfa8a pic.twitter.com/Fj2LvDsuUi

— DNA Doe Project (@DnaDoeProject) January 9, 2023

The DNA Doe Project said that a genetic match was ultimately made with one of Alton’s siblings who had taken a DNA test and uploaded their file to GEDmatch. The group said the “lab work to develop a DNA profile was complex, ultimately requiring a second bone sample.”

Alton’s remains were found on Oct. 6, 1971, in the woods in Bedford, New Hampshire. She had been dead up to three months. Investigators said her death was a homicide, but they haven’t determined the cause.

“We are determined to stay on this case and will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to follow any leads that may help us determine who might be responsible for Ms. Alston’s death,” Attorney General John Formella said.

No records show that anyone had reported Alston as missing. She was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, graduated from Dorchester High School in 1963 and attended classes at Boston University. She married fellow student Ralph Lawson Garrett, Jr. in Newton in 1967, but they later divorced. Garrett has since died, and “there is no evidence to suggest the divorce was not amicable,” the attorney general’s office said.

In late summer 1971, Alston’s parents and siblings moved from Massachusetts to Texas, where her father’s family was from. Her siblings, who were younger, said she was supposed to meet them at Logan Airport, but she didn’t show up.

“I don’t know what family dynamics were like between her and her parents,” said Benjamin Agati, senior assistant attorney general. “I also don’t know what was said, but I can tell that after the (genetic) match was made and we did have a chance to speak with members of her family, they just said after Mom and Dad moved them, they never saw her again and they never spoke with her.”

The parents are deceased and Alston’s family did not wish to comment, a spokesperson for the office said.

“Based on this identification, the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit is now looking for the public’s assistance in identifying the person who murdered Ms. Alston,” the attorney general’s office said.

Alston was reportedly living on Beacon Street in Boston with a male roommate named David Cormier at the time of her death. New Hampshire Cold Case Unit investigators are trying to find him and anyone else associated with her, including residents of Boston, Dorchester and Sommerville from 1963 to 1971, and Boston University students from 1963 and 1967.

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