Updated: May 29, 2020

Detective Lorie Howard with the bindings used on Grace Doe. Photo courtesy of

Six different types of bindings were used to tightly constrain a young woman standing less than 5'4" tall in a brutal rape and murder that took place in an abandoned farmhouse in Noel, Missouri, around Halloween 1990. This 20-30 year old woman had her hands pulled behind her back and tied to one leg by several different types of cords: coaxial cable, telephone cable, nylon rope, lead rope, parachute cord and clothesline. Nearby neighbors recalled hearing a woman scream and the loud roar of what may have been a diesel truck screeching away. An autopsy revealed no apparent cause of death, though it is believed she was strangled to death after being violently raped. This woman is one of the thousands of unidentified Jane Does listed in the National Unidentified Persons Database. She has come to be affectionately known as "Grace Doe" by those who wish to find her identity. This name was bestowed upon her by former long-time case detective Lorie Howard, who was told multiple times this case would only be solved by the grace of God.

Nine missing women over the last 28 years have been officially ruled out as being this murder victim, and several others have also previously been noted as exclusions by Detective Howard.  On August 23, 2018, a 10th missing woman was officially placed on the exclusion list: Cristina Chandler, missing from Tarrant, TX since September 30, 1990. [scroll down to view a more comprehensive list of rule-outs]

Several years ago, a petition was circulated to have Grace Doe's case featured on America's Most Wanted. This petition received 165 votes of support in the hopes that showcasing her story on this program would lead to her identity being discovered and her murderer being found.  Detective Howard spoke with AMW producers at the time about filming content for an episode featuring the case, but the show was canceled before this was able to take place.

Grace Doe had been deceased for approximately two months before her body was officially discovered by a couple who had been picking up aluminum cans on a nearby road. By the time this pair found her body, the remains had reached a state of serious deterioration in addition to being ravaged by insects and animals. However, she might have been originally found at least a month earlier in a more composed state by a 10 year old boy who had stumbled upon her remains. This young boy had told his parents about his discovery of this body, but they believed this to be a playful fabrication. Unfortunately, neither this boy nor his parent's names were ever recorded and they have not been able to be reached for more information.

At one point a confidential informant came forward with a name of both victim and killer; the informant claimed the murderer was local to the area. A single blond hair which was found on the victim's jacket may have belonged to the killer, but even with DNA testing, no identifying info has been released about whether or not this murderer has been named. Forensic Artist Victoria Lywood has created a reconstruction to help identify this woman.

View Grace Doe's case and forensic art images

Lorie Howard is no longer working as point of contact for this case but she remains actively interested in a resolution. Future tips and info regarding this case should be directed to the McDonald County Sheriff's Department.

The following missing women have been ruled out as being Grace Doe:

Tiffany Sessions

Patricia Schmidt

Nadine Timm

Hazel Klug

Susan Swedell

Diane Elmore

Janet Knife

Gloria Palmer

Meredith Medina

Cristina Chandler Rhonda Baucom

Ashley Fuller Reed

Krista De La Rosa

Janet Dolgae

Cheryl Ann Kenney

Star Boomer

Karol Marlene Sullens

Jennifer Lynn Pandos

Additional links and sources of info for this story:

Grace Doe Petition

KoamTV Article: 06/09/11

Neosho Daily News Article: 01/10/12

Neosho Daily News Article: 06/17/12

Websleuths Forum Thread


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