Texas Rangers Team with Othram to Identify Gray County Jane Doe

After 22 years, an unidentified homicide victim found in McLean, Texas has now been identified as Brenda Sue Guessler.

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Published June 27, 2023 by Michael Vogen
Media Inquiries


In August 1999, the Texas Rangers were called to assist with an unidentified body of an adult female along I-40 west of McLean, Texas. Investigators attempted to identify the female by fingerprint, DNA, and composite sketch; however, those efforts were unsuccessful. A DNA profile was developed and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

In February 2004, The Texas Ranger’s Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program (UCIP) reviewed the case file. The Rangers found numerous possibilities through report research to assist in identifying the unknown woman, but were unsuccessful. The case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP6936. With few leads to pursue, the case eventually went cold.

In April 2022, Texas Ranger’s UCIP personnel reviewed lab reports and pursued the advancements in DNA associated with this investigation. The evidence was submitted to Othram Inc. With funding assistance from the Roads to Justice (RTJ) program, skeletal remains were submitted to Othram's lab. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a comprehensive genealogical profile. Othram's in-house genetic genealogy team used the profile to generate investigative leads in the case. These leads were returned to investigators.

The leads suggested that the unknown woman might be Brenda Sue Guessler. Guessler was positively identified through standard familial DNA comparisons with a close relative. Guessler was believed to live in or near the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

The Texas Rangers are continuing to develop leads and information referencing this investigation. Anyone with information about Brenda Sue Guessler is encouraged to contact the Texas Rangers through email at rangers@dps.texas.gov. Identifying Guessler has breathed new life into this investigation and will help develop leads and information to bring this case to a close.

Help fund another case Your contributions pay for lab supplies and research tools

Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.