More than fifty years after a woman was found murdered in a wooded area near a highway in Bedford, New Hampshire, investigators announced a break in the case using genetic genealogy.
A partnership between the New Hampshire State Police and DNA Doe Project identified the victim as Katherine Ann Alston, who was 26 years old when she disappeared in 1971.
“They were able to discover a likely genetic match from her DNA profile with a direct-to-consumer DNA test that had been submitted by a member of Ms. Alston’s family in Texas,” authorities in New Hampshire explained. “Investigative efforts have now confirmed that genetic match after contacting her family.”
Alston, who was known to friends and family as Kathy, was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1945, attended classes at Boston University after graduating from high school in 1963, and married a fellow student, Ralph Lawson Garrett, in 1967.
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Her parents and siblings moved from Massachusetts to Texas in 1971. Alston was supposed to meet the family at Logan Airport in Boston for the flight to Texas, but didn’t make the flight.
Her remains were found on October 6, 1971, about one to three months after she was killed. A coroner determined that she was murdered but never determined her cause of death.
Investigators are now asking for the public’s assistance in solving the case. Alston was already divorced from her ex-husband, Ralph Garrett, at the time of her death. He has since died and “there is no evidence to suggest the divorce was not amicable,” according to police.
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Authorities want to speak with anyone who knew Alston or her former roommate, David Cormier, who she was living with in Boston at the time of her death.
“We are determined to stay on this case and will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to follow any leads that may help us determine who might be responsible for Ms. Alston’s death,” New Hampshire Attorney General Formella said in a statement.