Fairfax County Police Department Partners with Othram to Identify "Christmas Tree Lady"

In spite of a lengthy investigation, the identity of "Christmas Tree Lady" has remained a mystery for more than 25 years
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Published February 23, 2022 by Michael Vogen
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In December 1996, a groundskeeper at Pleasant Valley Memorial Park Cemetery in Annandale, Virginia discovered a woman's body. She was found in the section designated for infant burials but not near a particular grave.

The unidentified woman was found with a small 8 inch christmas tree and when her identity could not be determined, she became known as "Christmas Tree Lady". The woman was described as being Caucasian, with red/copper hair, standing about 5 feet tall. She was believed to be between the ages of 50-70 years old at the time of her death. She had an 8" vertical scar on her abdomen believed to be from a c-section.

Her autopsy report revealed she had alcohol and valium in her system at the time of death. She was discovered with a plastic bag over her head, along with two fifty-dollar bills, one for the coroner, and one for the cemetery. There was a note accompanying her body that read: "Deceased by own hand... prefer no autopsy. Please order cremation with funds provided. Thank you. Jane Doe". Investigator suspect the death is a suicide and the official cause of death is suffocation.

With all leads exhausted, Fairfax County Police Department has engaged Othram with the goal of using advanced DNA testing to identify this woman or a close relative. Anyone with information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Fairfax County Police Department at (703) 246-7511. Please refer to Namus Case UP6279. A DNASolves fund has been created to cover the cost of testing for this case.

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

(832) 906-4247
8301 New Trails Dr Ste 110, The Woodlands, TX 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

About Othram Inc.

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. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.

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