Remains of woman found in US 69 median identified a year later

Remains of woman found in US 69 median identified a year later

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Almost a year after a woman's decomposing body was found in the median of US Highway 69 between Alto and Wells, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office has released her identity Monday.

A DNA test revealed that the woman's body was "consistent with" a DNA profile that had been entered into the system by the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Crime Laboratory. The DNA had been obtained from an offender named Julie Ann Tovar, who was born in October 1962.

Tovar's body was found on Sept. 3, 2014 by a Texas Department of Transportation crew that had been working near the intersection of Highway 69 and County Road 2620.

"Due to the length of time that the body had been in the median, identification was not possible without further forensic testing," a CCSO press release stated. "The remains were sent to Tyler for the initial autopsy and then to the University of North Texas Health and Science Center's Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics."

While the body was at UNT, an in-depth anthropological examination was performed, and it determined that the body was that of a white or Hispanic woman between the ages of 35 and 55, and that she had been 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-7.

DNA was also collected during the examination, and it was entered into the Combined DNA Index System "with the hope that a match would be found from previously entered DNA samples already in the system," the press release stated.

The probability of the DNA sample matching other white women was listed at 1 in 355.5 quintillion.

Using information from the examinations and other sources, CCSO investigators identified possible family members in the Houston area. They also determined that she had last been in the Galveston County Jail in April 2014.

"Contact has been made with the family, who reported that they had lost contact with her many years before," the press release stated. "She was transient and had traveled to many states, but was last known by the family to live in West Texas."

The circumstances surround Tovar's death are still under investigation. Anyone with any information should contact the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office at (903) 683-2271.

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