In December 1988, the Dade County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI responded to the scene of a body located about five miles from the Alabama Stateline on I-59 northbound lane, near Rising Fawn, in Dade County, Georgia. The body belonged to an unidentified female homicide victim. For years, GBI agents and Dade County investigators worked diligently to identify the victim, but she was not identified through traditional forensic methods.
In March 2022, Rising Fawn Jane Doe was identified as Stacy Lyn Chahorski by a team that included the Dade County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and Othram.
Remember the Rising Fawn Jane Doe? After 33 years, we have finally identified her as Stacey Lyn Chahorski of Norton Shores, Michigan. Now to find her killer. https://t.co/kLT4OC6sBv @GBI_GA @DadeGASheriff @FBIBaltimore @FBIDetroit @OthramTech @NortonShoresPD pic.twitter.com/l3ZidPKW4P— FBI Atlanta (@FBIAtlanta) March 24, 2022
Remarkably, investigators found DNA evidence from an unknown male suspected to be responsible for Stacy's death. After identifying Stacy, GBI agents assigned to the investigation sought FBI assistance to identify this unknown male suspect. The DNA evidence from the case was sent to Othram and Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown male suspect.
Othram successfully produced a DNA profile and FBI genealogists developed investigative leads in June 2022. GBI investigators began to interview potential family and obtained DNA swabs for comparison to the Othram profile.
The confirmation DNA testing established Henry Frederick Wise, AKA Hoss Wise, as the primary suspect in Stacy Chahorski’s murder. Wise would have been 34 years old at the time of Chahorski’s murder in 1988. Wise was a truck driver, traveling the route for Western Carolina trucking company, driving through Chattanooga to Birmingham to Nashville and was also a stunt driver. In 1999, Wise was killed in a car accident at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina and was burned to death. Wise had a criminal history in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, ranging from theft, assault, to obstruction of a police officer. Wise’s arrests predate mandatory DNA testing after felony arrest and so he remained undetected and unconnected to Stacy's murder until genetic genealogy revealed the connection.
Mary Beth Smith, Stacy Chahorski’s mother, expresses gratitude to the FBI, GBI, Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross, all the people in Dade County who took care of Stacy as she was brought home to Norton Shores, Michigan, and the Norton Shores Police Department for never giving up on finding her.
Othram would like to express gratitude to Audiochuck, which funded all the laboratory and research work performed by the Othram team. Audiochuck's support was a key component of the successful resolution of this case.