Texas Killing Fields: Janet Doe

I was contacted by law enforcement because I administered his kit, and they were trying to identify this body that was found September 8th, 1991 in the Texas Killing fields. So, Detective Tisdale contacted me in January of 2019 regarding my father-in-law’s match. And because I am involved in genetic genealogy and helped adoptees to find family, I told him what I do and I offered my help.
I was then given access to her DNA matches and when I received them, I realized that I actually knew six of the top 15 matches. They were either personal friends of mine or someone that I had come across when I was helping an adoptee to find their family. And with that information, I was able to isolate three DNA lines. We figured out that Janet Doe, who was of Cajun heritage, evidently had moved to South Texas at one time with her family. They began looking for someone with a Cajun surname. Her DNA was uploaded to Family Tree DNA. And through a combined effort of genetic genealogy and great detective work, she was identified and she was identified on April 15th of 2019 as Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme.
So, that weekend, Paul and I went down to League City, Texas. And on Sunday, before the reveal, Detective Tisdale and his wife Jennifer took me and my husband to the site where the four women were actually found off of Calder Road. It was a very emotional experience for me because going through this whole process, I really got to know who she was. I got to know who her family members were. I got to know more about the story of why she ended up where she did. And to see the little memorial that a church had placed there for her and for three other victims was just an astounding, unbelievable moment for me. I could not believe that she had actually been there. Her bones had been on the shelf for over 26 years and she was unidentified and the next day, the world was going to know who she was. And to know that I actually had part in helping bring that to light was very, very emotional for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever been through anything like that before. Even with my adoptees, I get very attached, I get attached to a puppy, and so it’s very hard for me to let go. But doing the work that I did and then knowing that she was a DNA match to my father-in-law, she was a DNA match to my husband, she was a DNA match to my son and many friends that I knew, also she was family. That made it very, very interesting and just one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever been able to help with.

Solving Crime Through Genealogy

The DNA that is in the systems that police used is a system called CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System. Now, there’s actually three levels for that. There is a local state and national level. So, if someone is arrested and depending on what state they’re in, their DNA is tested.

Investigative Genetic Genealogy

One of the most fascinating things to me that have happened in the last few years is the use of DNA in what’s called Investigative Genetic Genealogy. It is now possible and it is being used to solve major crimes. And one of the amazing stats that I came across was the fact that there are over 

Genealogical Ghost Hunt: Princess Blue

A very interesting case that I’m working is an unidentified body that is known as Princess Blue. She was found in 1990 on the side of a road. A gentleman stopped to relieve himself, and found the bones of this young woman on the side of the road near Manvel, Texas.