Betty Lou Wisley : “Body Found in 1987 Identified as Betty Lou Wisley, Cold Case Breakthrough”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — In a significant breakthrough, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has successfully identified the remains of a woman whose burned body was discovered in Roane County back in 1987. The woman, previously known only as Jane Doe, has now been identified as Betty Lou Wisley, who was born on December 20, 1935, and originally from Clinton, Mississippi. At the time of her death, she was residing in Knox County.

The discovery of Wisley’s body more than three decades ago left investigators with many unanswered questions. Forensic anthropologists determined that the victim was a woman aged between 35 and 50, who had been burned before being discarded next to a dumpster in the 2600 block of Highway 58 in Kingston on August 29, 1987. Despite their efforts, her identity remained a mystery for years, with even DNA profiling by the FBI in 2009 failing to yield any significant leads.

However, as part of their ongoing commitment to solving cold cases, the TBI and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office sought assistance from Othram Inc., a private laboratory specializing in genetic testing. Using forensic genetic genealogical (FGG) DNA testing, scientists at Othram were able to identify Wisley by matching her DNA to that of one of her relatives. This breakthrough has allowed investigators to shift their focus to uncovering the circumstances surrounding Wisley’s tragic death.

Authorities emphasize the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies, forensic experts, and private laboratories in utilizing advanced technologies to solve cold cases and provide closure to grieving families. This case highlights the success of the TBI’s Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative, which aims to leverage DNA testing and genealogical research to solve long-standing mysteries.

Anyone with information related to Wisley’s case or the events leading up to her death is urged to come forward. Tips can be submitted via email to or by calling 865-717-4722. The TBI and sheriff’s office are hopeful that with the public’s help, they can finally uncover the truth and bring justice to Betty Lou Wisley.

For more information on the TBI’s Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative and their efforts to solve cold cases, please visit their website.

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