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McDonald County Mystery: Who is "Grace Doe" and who killed her in 1990?

Located in the southwestern most county in Missouri, Oscar Talley Road is a two-mile dirt drive through the rural farmlands of Anderson in McDonald County. On December 2, 1990, a couple walking the road discovered the decomposed remains of a young woman not far from the road.

She had been hog-tied and was dumped behind a rural farmhouse.

Computer reconstruction

Nicknamed "Grace Doe" by Detective Lori Howard in the 2000's, she believed it was only by the Grace of God that the young woman's identity would be found. Her autopsy revealed that she had been raped and strangled approximately two months prior to her discovery.

Grace Doe was found restrained with six different types of bindings: nylon and lead ropes, coaxial and telephone cables, paracord, and clothesline. Investigations determined that the paracord was military grade MIL-C-5040H type II - a rope that was exclusively sold to the military in the 1990’s - but without more information, her case went cold.

Grace Doe is described as of White or Native American descent, 21-31 years old, standing 5’1’’- 5’4’’ tall and weighing around 120 pounds. She had shoulder length, dark auburn hair. She was wearing a denim jacket with a white t-shirt, “Lee” brand blue jeans, and white high-top tennis shoes.

While investigators initially thought that Grace Doe and her abductor were from the area, they now believe that this is not the case. Grace had extensive dental work that was not normal for the rural county of McDonald in the 1990’s, leading them to believe she was from a bigger city in the four-state area.

As Oscar Talley Road is located less than a mile from current Interstate 49 (71 Highway at the time), authorities contend that Grace Doe was abducted elsewhere and dumped on the rural dirt road. She is McDonald County’s only unidentified body.

The McDonald County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Othram DNA to use advanced DNA testing and forensic genealogy to establish an identification of, or to find the closest living relatives to the decedent.

Anyone with information that could aid the investigation is encouraged to contact the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office at (417) 223-4319.

A fund has been established to cover the costs of testing for this case.

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