After 37 Years, Unidentified Woman is Identified Using Genealogy Technology
Sylvester, GA (January 31, 2023) – A woman who remained unidentified for 37 years has been identified as Mary Anga Cowan, missing out of Seminole County, FL. On Friday, May 14, 1985, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office requested the GBI assist with an investigation into the discovery of a woman who had been found injured and unconscious by passersby on the west side of GA Highway 91 north of Newton, GA. The woman was taken to the hospital in Albany, GA, where she died from her injuries on Saturday, June 1, 1985. The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office findings were the manner of death was undetermined and the cause of death was subdural hematoma secondary to blunt force trauma to the head.
On September 21, 2012, the woman was exhumed, and a sample of bone fragment was obtained. The bone fragment was sent to a private company for isotope analysis, but no leads were developed.
In March 2022, the GBI Sylvester Regional Investigative Office partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to have genealogical DNA analysis completed on the woman. A portion of her remains were submitted to Othram, a private DNA lab, who completed a DNA extraction.
In October 2022, a DNA profile was generated for comparison and turned over to the FBI for genealogical research. The research yielded a high probability that the unidentified woman was Mary Anga Cowan, aka “Angie.” Agents obtained DNA from one of Cowan’s children and the comparison indicated a parent/child relationship.
The assistance of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), Othram, and the FBI Atlanta and Baltimore offices were instrumental in identifying these remains and providing closure for the family.