SuperTalk Mississippi
Featured News Latest News Trending News

Nearly 40 years later, genetic genealogy helps ID remains of DeSoto County Jane Doe

Lori Ann Mealer Pennell had last been seen at a truck stop in West Memphis, Ark. (Photo courtesy of Othram)

Thanks to genetic genealogy, a DeSoto County Jane Doe has been identified after nearly four decades.

Announced by Othram – a company that specializes in genetic genealogy to resolve unsolved cases – the remains of a woman discovered by a truck driver in Olive Branch in 1985 have been identified as Lori Ann Mealer Pennell.

Pennell’s body was spotted by the driver in January 1985 just east of the Coldwater Bridge off Highway 78. Through its investigation, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office determined the deceased to be a female weighing approximately 110 pounds, standing 5’3″ tall, and somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35 years old. They noted that she had red to blonde hair, three small piercings in each ear, tattoos on the inside of both ankles, and a surgical scar on her left forearm.

Even with all the identifying characteristics at hand, no one came forward and Pennell was classified as a Jane Doe. The case, determined as a homicide, then went cold for 39 years.

That was until 2022 when the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and the Mississippi Office of the State Medical Examiner received funding from local phlanthropist Carla Davis to send forensic evidence to Othram to see if there was a match for the remains. Lo and behold, there was. After reaching out to relatives of the murdered woman, they were able to identify her as Pennell.

According to the March 1, 2024, announcement, Pennell had been seen days before her disappearance at a truck stop in West Memphis, Ark. She was born in Missouri on Sept. 6, 1962, meaning she was 23 years old at the time of her death.

Pennell’s death remains under investigation and further information will be released as it becomes available.

Stay up to date with all of Mississippi’s latest news by signing up for our free newsletter here

Copyright 2024 SuperTalk Mississippi Media. All rights reserved.

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More