Officials hope DNA will help identify ‘Miss Molly’

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SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) – Saline County officials released a few details at a press conference Tuesday morning after the body of an unidentified woman referred to as ‘Miss Molly’ was exhumed Monday from Gypsum Hill Cemetery.

The Saline County Sheriff said his office obtained an order of exhumation and a search warrant to collect samples for examination. The Kansas City Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations assisted in the collection of the samples.

Back in January 1986, ‘Miss Molly’ was discovered in Mulberry Creek near a bridge off of I-70. She was never identified. However, authorities investigated her death as a homicide. No one was arrested in connection to the case.

“Back then, DNA wasn’t a thing. We sought a court order hoping the DNA evidence would help us in this process. We got a search warrant to collect it,” said Sheriff Roger Soldan, Saline County. “Hope to find out who she was, a lot of missing persons leads.”

Authorities hope the DNA will help identify her in six to eight months. They want to see if the DNA matches that of a missing woman from Belgium. The woman from Belgium went missing around the same time in 1986.

“This will rule in or rule out the one from overseas. The one Interpol was looking at. They have DNA for her, but we didn’t have a DNA sample to match. A lot her dental records matched but some didn’t,” said Sheriff Soldan.

Former Salina Mayor Aaron Householter said many in Salina still remember the case. He also say investigators have never given up.

“I hope they all know law enforcement in Salina never gave up,” said Householter. “They kept looking and trying to figure out who it was. Hopefully, they can find out who she is and get at least that part of the case solved.”

Lt. Mike Smith with the Saline County Sheriff’s Office has been working the case since 2000.

“Every lead that comes in you follow it up. A lot of hours behind a computer looking at missing peoples,” said Lt. Smith. “Of course, we are playing a little catch up baseball with this one bit. With modern technology now, there will be a good chance.”

According to the FBI, ‘Miss Molly’ was 25-30 years old, stood 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 125 pounds. She had several scars, including one from an appendectomy and her face had a lot of bruising consistent with being beaten before she passed away, ultimately, of drowning. An autopsy suggested she had given birth.

FBI: JANE DOE – SALINE COUNTY

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System said ‘Miss Molly’ was wearing rare and expensive clothing, the kind typically manufactured in Europe or on the coasts.

Ricky Tebrugge, founder and creator of Kansas Missing and Unsolved, has followed the case since it happened when he was 19 years old. He has made efforts to frequently share updates on Molly.

“She is somebody. She’s somebody’s mom, somebody’s daughter. Somebody’s sister, cousin, aunt and she needs to be given her name back so she can be brought back to her family,” Tebrugge said.

Tebrugge hopes this break in the case is a step in the right direction.

RELATED LINK | Information on ‘Miss Molly’

If you have any information concerning ‘Miss Molly’, please contact your local FBI office or submit an anonymous tip online.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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