After four decades of mystery, a woman who was found dead in a Texas concrete ditch wearing nothing but orange socks on Halloween 1979 has been identified.
Since her body was found, the woman had only been known as “Orange Socks.”
About two months ago, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted out an updated version of the forensic sketch of the victim, drawn up by a cold case volunteer who is also a forensics artist.
On Aug. 7, a woman who saw the updated sketch called the sheriff’s office. She said she recognized the woman in the drawing and that she thought it may be her missing sister.
“The relative said she saw the new forensic image of ‘Orange Socks’ on the news and believed ‘Orange Socks’ may be her missing sister, identified as Debra Jackson,” Williamson Sheriff Robert Chody said at a press conference held on Wednesday.
Chody said that Jackson, a 23-year-old Abilene woman, is indeed “Orange Socks.” Her identity was confirmed with help from the DNA Doe Project thanks to a DNA genealogy test done with the DNA of Jackson's sister, according to CBS Austin. Chody said that the family further confirmed her identity through the woman’s identifiable ear lobes and toes.
Because Jackson was known to leave home, she was not reported as missing at that time and was not entered into any database for missing persons.
“It's a big deal. We haven’t solved the case,” Chody said, “but we have solved something that’s taken 40 years.”
Now, the mystery remains what happened to her and what led to her ending up dead in a concrete drainage ditch in Georgetown. She died by homicide of manual strangulation, Chody said.
Jackson left her family’s home in 1977. In 1978, she was working at a Ramada Inn — now called Camelot Inn — in Amarillo, Texas. That same year, according to Chody, she worked at an assisted living facility in Azle, Texas. Anyone who may have worked or come into contact with Jackson during that time is asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office cold case tip line at (512) 943-5204. One can also visit WCSO’s Cold Cases Facebook page here.
Previously, serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing the then-unidentified woman, according to NBC affiliate KXAN in Austin. He was even convicted of her murder in 1984, but later retracted it.
Chody said there is no information yet about a possible suspect but said that the identification of the woman is a "starting point."
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