In August 1979, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered in an open field near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) responded to the scene and found a deceased female. The woman was wearing Levi’s jeans and a light blue-green button-up linen shirt that had a tie-up bottom and red floral embroidery with sequins. She was also wearing several pieces of jewelry including a white metal chain with clear plastic heart pendant with a rose painted on it, a white metal chain with a pendant containing a turquoise-colored stone, and a white metal plain ring worn on the right hand.
During the course of the investigation, forensic sketches depicting how the woman may have looked during her life were developed and released to the public. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP159. Despite efforts of investigators, the woman could not be identified, and for more than forty years, the woman has been known as “Sahara Sue Doe”. Determined to identify the woman, the case was assigned to the LVMPD Homicide Cold Case Section.
In September 2022, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists successfully developed a DNA extract and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the woman. Othram's in-house forensic genetic genealogy team used the profile in a genetic genealogy search to develop new investigative leads that were returned to investigators.
LVMPD Cold Case Investigators continued their investigation using these new leads. Sahara Sue Doe is now identified as 19-year-old Gwenn Marie Story, who was born February 23, 1960. During the course of the investigation, investigators learned through Story’s family that she left the Cincinnati, Ohio area in the summer of 1979 with two male friends. She was traveling to California in search of her biological father. Story’s two friends returned to the Cincinnati area in August of 1979 and told her family members that they had left Gwenn in the Las Vegas area. Gwenn’s family never heard from her again after she left Cincinnati in the summer of 1979.
The LVMPD Homicide Cold Case Section is investigating this case. Anyone with information about Gwenn Marie Story, or the two males she traveled to Las Vegas with, is urged to contact the Homicide Section by phone at 702-828-3521, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 702-385-5555, or on the internet at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.