In May 1988, a couple from Owenton, KY spotted an unresponsive woman on their way to get the newspaper. The unknown woman was found partially nude with the exception of a pair of dark brown men’s dress socks. Investigators estimated that the woman was 25 to 40 years old , likely Cacausian, and with dark brown hair. At the time of her death she was about 5’5” tall and she weighed 120 lbs. She was missing portions of her left hand and she had a stick-and-poke tattoo of the name “Steve” on her upper right arm. Along with the men's socks she was wearing, investigators recovered a brown nylon blouse, a pair of white men's Winner's Choice tennis shoes size 5 1/2, a pair of jeans, and a blue bra in proximity to the site of discovery. Though the woman had been deceased for a few days and likely exposed to the elements, investigators were able to determine that the death was a homicide and that the cause of death as strangulation. It is speculated that the woman may have had connections to Columbus, OH and/or southern Florida.
Investigators collected and compared her fingerprints to others in government databases. Multiple forensic facial reconstructions were developed to help aid in the identification of the woman. The case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) Database as UP101. The combined efforts of this investigation were not able to produce leads that would identify this woman.
In 2022, the Kentucky State Police teamed with Othram to use advanced DNA testing to help establish an identity for the unknown woman or to at least identify a nearest living relative. Skeletal evidence was sent to Othram's lab in The Woodlands, Texas, where Othram's forensic scientists developed a DNA extract and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the female homicide victim. A DNASolves fund was created to fund the costs associated with this case. We are so very grateful to the community for helping us crowdfund the necessary costs to identify this woman.
Othram's in-house genealogy team used forensic genetic genealogy to produce investigative leads that were returned to law enforcement investigators. A follow up investigation using these leads determined that the homicide victim was 38-year-old Linda Bennett. She was reported missing to authorities in Columbus, Ohio in June 1988, not long after her body was found. Anyone with any information regarding this case is encouraged to call Det Johnson of KSP - Post 5 at 502-532-6363 and reference agency case number 05-88-0277 or NamUs ID UP101.