Author Topic: TALLADEGA COUNTY JANE DOE: WF, 45-65 - Found in Abandoned house in Lincoln, AL - May 5 2012 - *Jean Turner Ponders*  (Read 172 times)


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 Body of decomposed white female discovered in an adandoned house located in Lincoln, Talladega County, Alabama.

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Sex: Female
Race / Ethnicity: White / Caucasian

Estimated Age Group: Cannot Determine
Estimated Age Range: 45-65
Height: 5' 6"(66 inches) , Measured
Weight: 116 lbs, Measured

Type: Unidentified Deceased
Date Found: May 5, 2012
NamUs Case Created: August 8, 2012
ME/C QA Reviewed: August 9, 2012

Location Found: Map
Street Address: 14 Allred Road Lincoln, Alabama 35096
County: Talladega County

GPS Coordinates--
Circumstances of Recovery: Body of decomposed white female discovered in an adandoned house located in Lincoln, Talladega County, Alabama.
Details of Recovery
Inventory of Remains: All parts recovered
Condition of Remains: Not recognizable - Decomposing/putrefaction
Circumstance Notes: Decomposed body discovered in vacant house
Physical Description: Hair Color Gray or Partially Gray
Head Hair Description: Brown / Gray

Body Hair Description: None
Facial Hair Description: None
Left Eye Color: Unknown or Missing
Right Eye Color: Unknown or Missing
Eye Description: Decomposed
Distinctive Physical Features: No Known Information

Clothing and Accessories
Clothing: Pair sweatpants, shirt and panties

On the Body
Footwear: slippers


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Cold Case in Lincoln: Forensic lab gives new hope for identifying woman
Othram, Inc tries to find clues when other techniques have failed

LINCOLN, Ala. (WBRC) – Less than five miles from Talladega Superspeedway, and behind an abandoned house at the corner of State Route 77 and Allred Road is where this mystery begins.

A law enforcement officer was patrolling the area and saw the familiar abandoned house with the door wide open. In the backyard, the officer found the remains of woman. She was wearing a navy sweatshirt, blue sweatpants and slippers. She had no identification, no belongings and no reason to be in this backyard.

Her remains were found two days before the 2012 Aaron’s 499 NASCAR race, and now eight years later, officers still don’t know who she is.

“It could literally be anybody,” said Captain Zack Tutten with Lincoln Police Department.

Tutten doesn’t know how long the woman was in the backyard before an officer found her, but says by the time she was discovered, her body was so badly decomposed that identification through fingerprinting wasn’t an option.

Dental records only led to more questions after a forensic odonatologist found the word “Powders” engraved on her dentures.

“Which could be a last name, it could be the manufacturer of the dentures, we don’t know,” said Tutten.

Her autopsy revealed a few clues. Her cause of death was lung cancer, and she had a scar from a prior brain surgery.

She was five-feet-six-inches tall and estimated to be between 45 and 65 years old. The coroner was unable to determine the color of her eyes, but said her hair was sandy brown and graying.

“Pretty much every lead you could think of that we ran down was a no-go, we had nothing at the end of it so it was just sitting here, a cold case.”

Then, this summer, someone reached out to a lab in Texas after reading about the mysterious case on NamUS, a “national information clearinghouse and resource center” for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases.

“Someone sent us the link,” said Michael Vogen, Director of Case Management, Othram, Inc. “I think they’re from the area and said ‘Hey, this is one I felt wasn’t necessarily getting attention because there’s not a wild story to it necessarily.’”

Othram is a private DNA laboratory built specifically to solve cases like this one.

“Othram is the first and only lab in the U.S. that was built from the ground up to work in a forensic laboratory setting, specifically with forensic evidence. What that means is Othram is able to basically access information from DNA evidence that is unsuitable for evidence at other labs or traditional labs that have worked in this space.”

Vogen added, “We have the technology out there now where there shouldn’t be anyone out there without a name, there shouldn’t be any gravestones that say ‘Unknown’ or ‘Jane Doe’ or ‘John Doe.’ We should be working to clear all those up.”

Lincoln Police tried to identify the woman through DNA using the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, which is the FBI’s criminal justice DNA database.

“That basically is just criminals, so unless you’ve committed a crime and been entered into that system, or been the victim of a crime and been entered into that system, then there isn’t going to be a record of your blood,” said Tutten. “It’s very limited in that capacity.”

Othram is able to cast a wider net.

“CODIS looks at about 20 markers of DNA when they’re doing it, looking at DNA. We are looking at tens-of-thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of markers of DNA, so we are able to pull a lot more data and useful information that can then be used to build out family trees and help locate folks related to a DNA source found at a crime scene or unidentified scene,” explained Vogen.

Once it creates a “very clean DNA profile,” Vogen said scientists try to find a match through its volunteer-built DNA database, DNASolves. It also has access to commercial DNA databases through its partnership with law enforcement agencies.

“We are going to try to help locate a individual by generating an ID or the closest family member,” said Vogen.

He added, “It gives hope to a lot of these cases that were previously thought to be unsolvable.”

Tutten added, “We are really hopeful this will give us a new path to follow, or some new leads or opportunities that come from it.”

Othram will start its analysis on the DNA in the Lincoln case once it raises enough money to cover the costs for testing.

If you’re interested in donating money or your DNA to assist in this investigation, click here.

Since the lab opened in 2018, Othram has helped solve dozens of cases, including one dating back to the 1880s.


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The remains of an unidentified woman were found in this backyard in May 2012. (Source: Credit: Lincoln Police Dept.)


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Identified as 67-year-old Jean Turner Ponders, of Roswell, Georgia.

Human remains found outside Talladega Superspeedway in 2012 identified as missing Georgia woman

LINCOLN, Ala. (WIAT) — Human remains that were found in Lincoln nearly a decade ago have now been identified as belonging to a woman from Georgia who reportedly went missing around the same time.

In a news release from the Lincoln Police Department, remains that police found outside an abandoned building in Talladega County on May 5, 2012 were recently identified as being those of 67-year-old Jean Turner Ponders, of Roswell, Georgia. According to police, Ponders’ cause of death was determined to have been from lung cancer by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

According to Ofc. Tim Lupo with the Roswell (Georgia) Police Department, Ponders was reported missing by her sister in September 2015, approximately three years after she last heard from her.

The case began in 2012 when a deputy with the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office and a reserve officer working at the Talladega Superspeedway during race week located human remains behind an abandoned residence on Allred Road in Lincoln. At the time, Ponders’ remains couldn’t be identified due to them being too decomposed to collect fingerprint evidence. In August 2012, Ponders’ remains were entered into NCIC and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, but her description did not match any local missing persons cases and the case went cold.

“If not for considerable assistance from Othram, Inc. located in Texas, which is a forensic sequencing laboratory for law enforcement and a forensic genetic genealogist named Carla Davis, Lincoln Police Department would still have a cold case,” the release stated. “Because of all this assistance and hundreds of investigative hours put in by Lincoln Police investigators over the years, Ms. Ponders has her identity back.”

Ponders’ case remains open and police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding her ending up in Alabama. Anyone with information on Ponders and the circumstances leading to her remains being left in Lincoln are encouraged to call Capt. Shannon Hallmark with the LPD at 205-763-4064 or Investigator Demarco Willis at 205-763-4070.