After discovering her body, law enforcement officers sought Dennis Ray Anderson, 64, on charges of tampering with evidence. He killed himself Oct. 29 at a motel in Pensacola, Fla., and left a suicide note confessing to strangling his wife, the Houston Chronicle reported. The note said he killed her because he suspected she had stolen money and personal items from him.
Dennis Anderson was sentenced to life in prison for the 1972 slayings of Mabel McCormick and her granddaughter, Les Bowman, 3, during an antique shop robbery in Kountze. He was paroled in 1989.
Stacie Anderson's sister, Tracie De Ann Lutz, was slain in 1990 and her killing remains unsolved. Anthropologists and scientists at the Harris County Institute Of Forensic Sciences used DNA from Lutz's autopsy to identify her sibling's remains, Detective Shawn Carrizal said.
"I knew that was my only chance" to identify the woman in the barrel, he said.
Pathologists compared preserved tissue samples from Lutz to DNA extracted from Stacie Anderson's bones. The result was a positive match, said Dr. Jennifer Love, forensic anthropology director at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Relatives of Stacie Anderson have expressed relief and appreciation for the positive identification, said Carrizal.
"Even the cousins that used to play with her when she was a kid always wondered about her because they thought she just went to California and never came back. They always thought she'd come back home. She never did," said Carrizal. "And once this came up, they just had a gut feeling that it was her in the barrel."