Cold case solved: Woman found in bedspread in 1972 identified, but who killed her?

Cold case solved: Woman found in bedspread in 1972 identified, but who killed her?

(As originally published, Fri, January 26th 2024)

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (TND) — It took more than a half-century but the body of a woman found all those years ago has finally been identified, and authorities in Florida are still hoping they can catch — or at least identify — her killer.

The body was found on July 19, 1972, and at the time, detectives believed the victim had recently traveled to Hernando County — north of Tampa — from either northern Florida or Alabama.

The victim was described as between 30 and 40 years old, approximately 5 feet tall, weighing between 125 and 145 pounds, with short brown hair, and they noted she had only six upper and six lower teeth.

The body was discovered wrapped in a bedspread, with two distinctive features. It had a pattern, possibly described as a “Pineapple Damask” print, and it had three square corners and a rounded corner.

The sheriff’s office said cold case detectives continued to investigate over the years, but no new leads were developed until a phone call from a forensic biotechnology lab in Texas on Aug. 11, 2022.

Investigators had sent forensic evidence to Othram Labs near Houston, “in hopes that advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy could generate new investigative leads.”

Cold case solved: Woman found in bedspread in 1972 identified, but who killed her?
The body of Peggy Joyce Shelton was found in a distinctive bedspread in Florida in 1972, and authorities spent nearly 50 years trying to identify her. (Hernando Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Scientists there developed a DNA extract from the skeletal remains, and then genome sequencing for a DNA profile.

The case manager said he had a possible name for the Jane Doe victim, so the detective in Florida got a DNA sample from a potential family member — and they matched.

The Jane Doe was finally identified as Peggy Joyce Shelton, born March 30, 1943, in Kentucky.

Now, authorities say they’re hoping the new information will help lead them to “the person or persons responsible for the murder of Ms. Shelton.”

Anyone with information is asked to click here and submit an anonymous tip, and be eligible for a reward.

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