In April 1993, while conducting field research in the Las Vegas, Nevada desert area of Tropicana Avenue and Durango Drive, a biologist discovered a grave covered with a handmade quilt and several large rocks. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Homicide Section responded to the scene and led the investigation. The Clark County Coroner’s office conducted an autopsy and determined that the remains were that of a female. The woman’s death was ruled as a homicide. It was estimated that her death occurred mid to late 1991.
Despite the investigative efforts of law enforcement, the woman could not be identified and she became known as “Jane Tropicana Doe”. The case remained unsolved and was assigned to the LVMPD Homicide Cold Case Section. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP14396.
In February 2023, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department once again teamed with Othram to determine if advanced DNA testing could help to identify Jane Tropicana Doe. Forensic evidence was submitted to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®. After successfully completing the process, the DNA profile was delivered to the FBI's forensic genetic genealogy team and the FBI team performed the necessary work to generate new investigative leads in the case.
The FBI identified several promising leads and LVMPD Cold Case Investigators began working to identify family members of the unknown woman. Using familial reference DNA samples, investigators were able to identify the murdered woman as 38-year-old Linda Sue Anderson aka Linda Sue Andrews of Henderson, Nevada. Cold Case Investigators learned that family members last spoke to Linda Sue by phone in June of 1991. She was never heard from again.
The LVMPD Homicide Cold Case Section is investigating this case. Anyone with information about Linda Sue Anderson is urged to contact the Homicide Section by phone at 702-828-3521, or by email at email@example.com. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 702-385-5555, or on the internet at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.
Funding for the advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy used in this case was provided by NamUs, a national clearinghouse that assists the criminal justice community with the investigation and resolution of missing, unidentified, and unclaimed persons cases across the United States and its territories. NamUs is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is managed through a contract with Research Triangle Institute International. We are grateful for the support of RTI, NamUs, and the NIJ.
In December 2023, working with LVMPD, Othram announced the identification of Sahara Sue Doe as 19-year-old Gwenn Marie Story. Story was discovered in Las Vegas in 1979.