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Henderson police identify teen previously known as 'Jane Doe' in decades-long homicide investigation

Investigative genetic genealogy used to help identify body
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Posted at 10:05 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 14:51:05-05

HENDERSON (KTNV) — The Henderson Police Department says there has been a huge break in a cold case homicide investigation dating all the way back to 1980.

During a press briefing on Thursday, the agency said that it had positively identified a young woman who — for decades — was known only as "Jane Arroyo Grande Doe."

Police say her real name is Tammy Corrine Terrell and that she was born on July 4, 1963.

She was 17 years old at the time she was murdered.

On the night of Oct. 5, 1980, police say a young woman's body was found in the area desert area of Arroyo Grande Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway by drivers passing by. "All attempts" to identify her over the years had been unsuccessful, police say.

At the time, the Clark County Coroner's Office ruled her death a homicide.

Police say they were able to eventually identify Terrell using investigative genetic genealogy.

The initial detective in the case, John Williams, investigated the homicide from 1980 through his retirement in 2006. During Thursday's briefing of the case, it was revealed that Williams and his wife paid for the woman's funeral initially and he continues to visit her gravesite.

Williams continued to remain invested in the case well after retirement. The department says, in 2015, he went with the new lead detective on the case to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to present the case.

This story has been updated with new information from the Henderson Police Department.