Betty Lou Wisley : “Body of Burned Woman Found in Roane County in 1987 Finally Identified as Betty Lou Wisley”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) continues its relentless efforts to solve cold cases, and their dedication has once again paid off. After years of investigation, they have finally identified the remains of a woman whose burned body was discovered in Roane County back in 1987.

The woman, previously known as Jane Doe, has been identified as Betty Lou Wisley, born on December 20, 1935, originally from Clinton, Mississippi. At the time of her death, she was residing in Knox County.

On that fateful day in August 1987, a passer-by made a chilling discovery beside a dumpster in the 2600 block of Highway 58 in Kingston. Forensic anthropologists determined that the victim was a white female aged between 35 and 50. The gruesome nature of the crime revealed that she had been burnt before being discarded next to the dumpster.

For decades, the identity of the victim remained a mystery. Despite numerous attempts, including DNA profiling by the FBI in 2009, no breakthroughs were made. However, as part of their ongoing commitment to solving cold cases, the TBI and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office sought the assistance of Othram Inc., a private genetic testing laboratory. In April, scientists at Othram used forensic genetic genealogical (FGG) DNA testing to identify Betty Lou Wisley by comparing her DNA to that of one of her relatives.

Now that her identity is known, investigators from the TBI and RCSO plan to focus their efforts on unraveling the circumstances surrounding Wisley’s death. They are reaching out to the public, urging anyone with information about Wisley or any events leading up to her death to come forward. Tips can be sent via email to or by calling 865-717-4722.

This case highlights the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies, forensic experts, and private laboratories. By utilizing advanced technologies and DNA testing, these collaborative efforts can bring closure to families and solve long-standing mysteries. To learn more about the TBI’s Unidentified Human Remains DNA Initiative, click here.

As the TBI continues its tireless work, they hope to provide answers and closure not only to the families of the victims but also to the communities affected by these cold cases.

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