Human remains found 40 years ago ID’d as Arlington woman


After more than 39 years, the skeletal remains of a woman found in Smith County have been identified as missing North Texas woman Sindy Gina Crow.

Courtesy: DNA Doe Project

After 39 years, the skeletal remains of a woman found in east Texas have been identified as a missing arlington woman through forensic DNA analysis, according to the DNA Doe Project

“The Texas Department of Public Safety, in collaboration with local law enforcement, forensic experts, and the DNA Doe Project, has successfully identified the former Jane Doe as Sindy Gina Crow,” resolving “the long-standing mystery,” the nonprofit organization said in a news release Wednesday.

The cause of Crow’s death is undetermined.

In October 1985, a highway mowing crew found the human skeletal remains in a brush-covered gully on the south side of Interstate 20 in Smith County near Tyler. No identification was found with the remains, and the case quickly went cold, investigators said.

Investigators believed the woman’s remains had been concealed on purpose and likely had been in the gully for 12 to 15 months before she was found. A T-shirt with a logo for Top Rail County Music in dallas, a gold Pulsar watch a gold butterfly earring and other clothing were also found nearby, according to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2021, investigators with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office brought the case to the DNA Doe Project to try to discover the woman’s identity through investigative genetic genealogy.

A forensic assessment by investigators with the Crime Forensics Laboratory in Dallas concluded the remains were those of a white woman about 25 years old with reddish-brown hair tied in a ponytail. They also estimated her height and weight.

The DNA Doe Project said it worked with specialty labs to produce a DNA profile, which was uploaded to the databases at GEDmatch Pro and FTDNA. A team of 15 investigative genetic genealogists working as volunteers came together on a weekend in October 2023 to analyze the profile and build the Jane Doe’s family tree. “In a matter of hours, they had found the branch of Sindy Crow, and were unable to find any proof of life for her after 1985,” the release said.

“We had one great match that pointed us in the right direction,” team leader Rhonda Kevorkian said in the release. “All other matches were distant relatives. Without that great match, this would have taken much longer.”

The DNA Doe Project notified the sheriff’s office of the woman’s possible identity and investigators got in touch with Crow’s family.

Crow was married in January 1984 and gave birth to a child in July of that year. An investigator obtained a DNA swab from her daughter, who lives in Alabama and was a baby when her mother disappeared, and also went to Fort Worth to obtain DNA from Crow’s mother.

The DNA samples were submitted to the anthropology department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, which confirmed the match earlier this month, officials said.

“Anytime we have anybody who has lost a life, we will not rest until we identify the body and if at all possible try to determine what caused the death, which will be the next part,” although that likely will difficult after so much time has passed, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said at a news conference on Tuesday.

This story was originally published April 17, 2024, 12:20 PM.

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Amy McDaniel edits stories about criminal justice, breaking news and education for the Star-Telegram.


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