MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — McDonald County authorities have revealed the identity of the woman known as “Grace Doe” as part of a now solved cold case.
New DNA evidence received by the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office Monday showed a match with a living half-sibling, allowing them to positively identify the victim as Shawna Beth Garber – born March 1st, 1968.
The revelation comes after extensive analyses and detective work from multiple local law enforcement agencies, anthropologists, pathologists, orthodontists, genealogists, and several university departments over a 30-year-long period.
Back in January of this year, the McDonald County Sheriff’s received information from Othram Inc, a laboratory specializing in genome sequencing and analysis, that living ‘candidate relatives’ could be tested for DNA matches. From here, the Sheriff’s Office decided to contact one of these relatives for testing.
A woman named Danielle Pixler fell under this genealogical tree created Othram and agreed in February to contribute some of her DNA as part of the investigation. Pixler told authorities “she had a half-sister, Shawna Garber, that had been in foster care in Garnett, Kansas and went back into state care.” Pixler says she did not know the fate of her half-sister and had been looking for Shawna for over 28 years.
One month later in March the McDonald County Sheriff’s office received a call from Othram saying that the DNA from Pixler was a match to “Grace” as the missing half-sibling.
The Sheriff’s Office says their next step is tracing the whereabouts of Shawna and uncovering what happened to her.
The full release from the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office can be found below: