Fort Bend Co. uses cutting-edge DNA technology to identify remains in 38-year-old cold case

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Thursday, June 2, 2022
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FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The remains of a woman who was missing for nearly 38 years have been identified thanks to cutting-edge DNA technology.

Peggy Anne Dodd, who was 29 at the time, went missing in December of 1984. Since then, her family was left worried about her whereabouts, wondering if they would ever find closure concerning her fate.

Thanks to Fort Bend County Sheriff's veteran Homicide Detective Scott Minyard and a team of genealogists, some of the family's questions have been answered.

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Remains were found on a property belonging to the Manford Williams Ranch in Fort Bend County on Dec. 22, 1984.

At the time, investigators were left with only minimal information, including approximate height, age, weight and clothing located with the remains.

An autopsy revealed only that the remains were that of a young Caucasian woman with light brown hair.

There was no known cause of death.

Now, 38 years later, the remains were able to be identified as Dodd. Scientists used advanced DNA sequencing technology to extract DNA from rootless hair found on the victim and built a genetic genealogy.

Dodd's cause of death is still unknown.

"Intermountain Forensics is honored to help give back Peggy Anne Dodd her name and hopefully provide a small measure of closure and comfort to her family and friends. It truly would not have been possible to give identity to the remains without the diligence and dedication of our partners at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office," said Daniel Hellwig, Laboratory Director at Intermountain Forensics. "Our counterparts at Astrea Forensics played a pivotal role in this extremely difficult case by combining cutting-edge science with intense investigative persistence to identify the remains."

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