TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Tyler County authorities confirmed that the skeletal remains found near Lake Steinhagen in the Dam-B community in early April were that of Lettie and John Fisher Jr., who have been missing since Sept. 19, 2011.
According to Tyler County Chief Deputy Phil Ryan, a DNA analysis conducted on the human remains by forensics experts at the University of North Texas Health Science Center said the remains were identifed using past dental records from Lettie Fisher and her son, John.
After a man found the skeletal remains, an investigative team made up of deputies from the Tyler County Sheriff's Office, the Texas rangers, the DPS Dive Team, and Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens from Tyler and Jasper counties traveled by air boat to the edge of Dam-B in Tyler County. From there, they went in on foot with the necessary equipment to process the scene.
In all, 36 items of evidence were collected at the scene. Ryan said the skeletal remains were found in two separate locations. Authorities also found fishing equipment and prosthetic leg at the scene.
No foul play is suspected, Ryan said in a previous story, and authorities believe that Lettie and John Fisher did not drown in the lake. The exact causes of their deaths are still under investigation.
Lettie Fisher, 79, and John Fisher Jr., 31, were last seen in Lufkin around 12 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, according to Lt. Craig Finegan with the Polk County Sheriff's Office. They went to Lufkin for a doctor's appointment.
Initially, investigators thought Lettie Fisher and her son went to Magnolia Ridge Park in the Steinhagen Lake area to fish that Monday. In September 2012, authorities said they knew the Fishers went home to change clothes before they went fishing at the park.
They were reported missing the following Thursday after a park officer noticed their vehicle had been parked in the same spot for days. Lettie Fisher's money and purse were still in the car, according to authorities. No foul play was suspected at first.
Less than a week after they were reported missing, then-Trinity County Sheriff David Hennigan said, "We're looking at possible criminal activity now."
In September 2011, John Fisher, Lettie Fisher's husband, told East Texas News that his son is mentally handicapped and has a prosthetic leg. He also said that his wife and his son often went fishing together.
Right after the pair was reported missing, authorities searched the area around Magnolia Ridge Park with cadaver and scent dogs, a dive team, underwater cameras, and a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter. However, the search proved to be fruitless.
Funeral arrangements for Lettie and John Fisher are still pending at this time.