In December 1974, the Gatlinburg Police received a call from a man who stated that he and his friends were taking a shortcut back to their chalet, when they discovered the remains of a body, below the tramway station at Gatlinburg Ski Lodge. Chief of Police, W.B. Ogle and Sergeant J.G. Moore responded to the scene, which was a remote area, just east of the tramway, that was untraveled. The body was found lying face down on a coat that had been spread when she had been apparently sitting against a tree. No identifying information was found near the body or the scene.
Dr. John Hickey, Sevier County Medical Examiner, was requested to aid in the identification of the body that was in an advanced stage of decay. Medical Examiner Dr. John Hickey and Dr. William M. Bass, State Forensic Anthropologist, met at Atchley Funeral Home and Mr. Harold Atchley, it was decided that the body should be taken to the morgue of the University of Tennessee Memorial Research Center and Hospital, and have an autopsy performed. Case Number assigned to the case was 74-11. The autopsy report does not indicate cause of death.
In January 1975, letters were sent to area Police Agencies requesting assistance to identify or send information of missing persons. Letters were sent to the FBI, TBI and the States of South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. In spite of the efforts, no identification could be made.
Throughout the years and as technology improved many investigators attempted to identify the remains but were unsuccessful. In 2007, computerized technology help produce a composite of the deceased but no identity was ever discovered. In 2007 a new Dental identification was utilized through NCIC and once again no identification was discovered. The case was submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP1589.
In 2021, skeletal remains from the unidentified woman were submitted to Othram for forensic genetic genealogy testing, in hopes of identifying potential relatives. Othram produced a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to produce a comprehensive DNA profile. Othram's in-house genetic genealogy team then worked to produce investigative leads. These were transmitted back to the agency and investigators were able to identify a potential relative that currently resides in Arkansas. That individual was contacted and did, in fact, report having a sister who had been missing since August of 1974 and was last believed to be in Tennessee. A DNA sample of that individual was submitted for direct comparison to the unidentified. The results positively identified her to be Charlotte Roberta Henry, born Jan. 4, 1939, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ms. Henry was last seen, by her relatives, at her father’s funeral in April of 1974. The family received a letter from her in August of 1974 from 2124 Vinton, Memphis Tennessee.
The Chief of the Gatlinburg Police Department wants to commend the Investigative Division of the Gatlinburg Police Department for their relentless determination to solve this case and mostly recently, Detective Cindy Myers.