By Erika O'Neal | Bastrop Guide
Identification of Jane Doe: The Journey to Uncover the Truth. On June 21, 1979, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office responded to a deceased female subject located adjacent to Highway 290 near FM 696. The female was not identified at the time, but later estimated to be between 16 and 40 years old. The investigation began without any leads that could help identify Jane Doe. Despite this, Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing her in 1984.
The case was re-examined by Sergeant James Miller in May of 2019. In order to gain a better understanding of the Texas Rangers' investigation, research was conducted. Elgin Cemetary was identified as the burial place for Doe. An exhumation of the grave was completed in June 2019, and DNA samples were collected by the University of North Texas.
In the years that followed, they discovered that the DNA collection did not provide enough information to identify the remains. The Sheriff's Office then reached out to Othram Labs about forensic genealogy assistance, and DNA samples were sent to Othram for testing, but the results were unsuccessful with the samples sent and they were not able to generate a complete DNA profile.
With the help of Texas State University, Jane Doe's body was exhumed for the second time again in September 2022 in hopes to collect more DNA samples to help identify Jane Doe's body. The DNA samples were collected and sent to Othram (www.othram.com). On January 12, 2023, a full DNA profile was obtained by Othram. Forensic genealogy was conducted and funded using the DNASolves.com crowdfunding platform.
On April 3, 2023, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Department was contacted by Othram who provided them with a forensic genealogy report. This allowed the Sheriff's Office to complete a family tree, which led them to locate Jane Doe's identity and learn that she had been adopted at an early age.
Jane Doe was identified as Kathy Ann Smith, born July 19, 1956 from the Houston, Texas area. She was only 22 years old at the time of her murder and survived by a daughter. The family was notified of her remains, they are at peace knowing where their loved one is and a headstone has been placed at her gravesite.
The image was provided to the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office by her family.