Now officially identified as Shawna Beth Garber (born March 1, 1968) she was known as the ‘McDonald County Grace Doe’ and on my website as Neosho Grace Doe.
Why did I give her that name? After her remains were recovered, Detective Lorie Howard sent them to Freeman Hospital in Neosho and the scans were sent to forensic artist Victoria Lywood in Montreal, Canada.
From Four States: thanks to advances in DNA technology, the collaboration between the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office, many law enforcement agencies, forensic genealogy, and Othram Inc., we have a new puzzle piece in this old, unsolved case: we have her identity but we still seek who killed her.
Shawna Beth Garber’s skeletal remains were found on Dec. 2, 1990. She was in a weeded area near an abandoned farmhouse on Oscar Talley Road, east of Lanagan, in McDonald County, Missouri.
Detective Lori Howard discovered that a then 10-year-old boy had actually found the body about one month before she was “officially” discovered by a couple who were picking up cans along the road. By that time, however, the body was already decomposed. It would be interesting if we can find this man. Not to accuse him but to see what he remembers.
Shawna Beth Garber was probably killed on Halloween night, based on the report of a witness who said that she heard a woman scream and then heard a noisy pickup truck.
Shawna Beth Garber’s identity was found through forensic genealogy. But, when exactly she was last seen, was she reported missing, and who killed her, those are puzzle pieces we still need to find.
The green parachute cord used to hogtie Shawna was military issue. Det. Howard said “it isn’t the common 550 paracord, as had been thought. It is actually a MIL-C-5040H Type II cord. That’s military issue.
What makes this type different, Howard said, is that instead of the normal seven strands, it has four. As with most military issue paracords, this one has a color code on the inside of one of the strands that helps identify the manufacturer.
Howard believes she has tracked it to a company called Continental, which in the early 1990s sold pretty much exclusively to the U.S. military, according to Howard. That tells her something she has already long suspected.
“It tells me I need to look locally (for the killer)”
Click here to find the Othram story how they pieced together Shawna’s identity. Apparently, Shawna had been in foster care in Garnett, Kansas. Whether she went missing from there, is unclear. According to this article, Shawna was 22 years old when she was found raped-murdered.
On the Othram website you will find this picture of a very young Shawna Beth Garber. I assume that at the moment this is the only known photograph of Shawna.
Note that the facial reconstruction is a pretty good match. Check the nose and the eyes, I think it is well done.
From their website: “Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence.
Othram’s scientists are experts at recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials.
Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed.”
Anyone with information that could help the authorities answer any of the opne questions in Shawna Beth Garber’s case, please call the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office at (417) 223-4319.
Rest in peace, Shawna Beth Garber.