Missouri Authorities Reveal Identity Of 'Grace Doe' In Cold-Case Break
By Kelly Fisher
April 1, 2021
Decades after her case first opened, investigators have finally revealed Grace Doe’s true identity.
“Grace Doe” was discovered in southwest Missouri on December 2, 1990. Autopsy results indicated that she’d been sexually assaulted and strangled before she died, approximately two months before anyone found her remains, the Associated Press reported.
McDonald County law enforcement officials were called to an abandoned house on Oscar Talley Road, where people found “a skull and remains of a badly decomposed body,” the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office explained in a Facebook post announcing the news on Wednesday (March 31).
The sheriff's office recalled the 31-year efforts that finally led to a development in the cold case.
In 2009, for example, a facial reconstruction expert and FBI instructor examined the skull. The facial reconstruction expert “was able to do a likeness of what she might have looked like using the photographsMRI film of the skull.”
It turned up no new information — but it gave "Grace Doe" her nickname.
The detective working her case was told that it would only be solved by the “Grace of God,” according to the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office.
Possible leads came and went, as each led to a dead end.
Then, in September 2020, the sheriff’s office teamed up with Othram Inc., a Texas-based lab, for advanced DNA testing.
By January, Othram Inc. managed to narrow down potential relatives of Grace Doe using genealogy. That’s when a sheriff’s office lieutenant started making calls.
Danielle Pixler, one of the potential relatives, explained to the lieutenant that she had a half-sister who had been in foster care and state care in Kansas, and she’d been looking for her half-sister for nearly three decades, according to the sheriff’s office. Pixler agreed to submit a DNA sample to authorities.
Orthram Inc. had the results on Monday (March 29), confirming that Grace Doe was Pixler’s half-sister, her only missing half-sibling.
Grace Doe's real name is Shawna Beth Garber. She was born March 1, 1968, the sheriff’s office revealed.
She was 22 when her remains were found in McDonald County.
“The next steps for the Sheriff’s Office will be to try and see if we can trace the whereabouts of Shawna and what might have happened to her,” the sheriff’s office states.
Photo: Getty Images