Identified! GA - Bibb Co., BlkFem, 30s-40s, Nude in woods off Riverside Dr, Macon, Sept '77 *Samuel Little victim* - Yvonne Pless

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Her body was found in Macon almost 40 years ago. But who she is remains a mystery

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The body had been decaying for six weeks just 200 feet from the front door of Bowman’s cinder block home when she found it Sept. 8, 1977. It belonged to a black woman, authorities later determined, in her early 30s or 40s.

In the weeks before the gruesome discovery, a strong rotting smell had pervaded the entire neighborhood near Arkwright Road, Bowman told The Telegraph.

“I can’t believe it was there for so long, and I never saw it before,” she said. “I thought it was a dog or something. I never even went to look.”
Animals had scattered some of the remains. Several people in the neighborhood told police their dogs had returned home smelling foul.
It took hours for authorities to collect the bones. A 20-person search team combed about four miles of woods east of the house.

Bibb County sheriff’s investigator Harry Harris handed each of the men plastic evidence bags.

“Look for bones,” Harris told the search team. “I don’t give a damn if they’re fish bones, cat bones, dog bones or chicken bones — any bone you find — (put it) in the bag.”
The woman’s hands and shoulder blades were never recovered.
There was little for police to go on.

Nobody reported missing in Middle Georgia had characteristics even approaching hers. It’s possible she was from out of town.

The woman was naked, and a purse was nowhere to be found.

Interstate 75, constructed about a decade earlier through Macon, had made it easier for out-of-town criminals to come and go quickly without detection.

Police figured the woman had been strangled and dumped there, but the cause of her death was never determined.

Neither was her identity.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/news/local/article169772102.html#storylink=cpy

https://gbi.georgia.gov/case/unidentified-remains-285


 
NamUs page for this UID
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

Sex Female
Race/Ethnicity Uncertain
Estimated Age Group Adult - Pre 50
Estimated Age Range 28-52
Estimated Year of Death 0-1977
Height Cannot Estimate
Weight Cannot Estimate

Circumstances of Recovery
Skeletal remains found in wooded area off Riverside Drive, one mile north of Arkwright Road, Macon GA.
 
Identified! . Yvonne Pless, 19.
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''Summary​

Forty-six years after her remains were discovered off Arkwright Road, a woman previously identified by the Macon Telegraph as “Macon Jane Doe” has been identified. Yvonne Pless was 19 years old when she was murdered in Macon by Samuel Little, confirmed by the FBI as the US’s most prolific serial killer. For decades she was missing from her family and remained unidentified until the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) to solve her case and return her remains home to Macon.

Captain Shermaine Jones of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and Amy Hutsell, Program Director for CJCC’s Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Unit first collaborated in 2018 when the now-deceased serial killer confessed to killing two Macon women. Ms. Pless was Little’s first victim in 1977, and his second, Fredonia Smith, was murdered in Washington Park in 1982. In 2019, Jones and Hutsell traveled to Wise County, Texas where Little was being held to confirm that his confessions matched the unsolved Macon cold cases. The case of the unidentified victim was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified System (NamUs) database as UP2126.

After interviewing Little, Captain Jones closed both cases and the remaining family member of Fredonia Smith was notified. Because the family of Macon Jane Doe was unknown, Jones and Hutsell teamed up again in 2022 and used forensic genetic genealogy to identify her.

In 2022, skeletal remains from the victim were sent to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram developed a suitable DNA extract and used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown woman. Othram's in-house genetic genealogy team used the profile to develop investigative leads that were returned back to law enforcement so that they could continue their investigation.

Working with Othram, investigators identified a relative of Ms. Pless, who connected them with her remaining family members. Little confessed to killing 93 women in total. Eight of his victims were Georgia citizens, and a 9th was from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but her remains were left by Little in Dade County, Georgia.

Sheriff David Davis says: “Thanks to the dedication of Captain Shermaine Jones and Director Amy Hutsell, the family members of Yvonne Pless and Fredonia Smith now have closure concerning their missing or victimized loved one. I believe with continued dedication, teamwork, and advancement in technology, we can bring that same closure to other awaiting families.”

CJCC Executive Director Jay Neal concurs and adds: “CJCC is dedicated to providing innovative resources to our criminal justice partners. We were pleased to collaborate with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office to provide long-awaited answers in these cases. We hope that these answers have brought healing to the families of these victims.”

Amy Hutsell oversees the Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (GA SAKI) Task Force, and the project was tasked by the FBI’s BAU-4 to assist them in matching Little’s confessions with the nine cold cases associated with Georgia jurisdictions. Planning for the GA SAKI Task Force began in 2017 with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's receipt of a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI). The Task Force provides consultation and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults that have been reopened as a result of the state's efforts to test previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits. The GA SAKI Task Force and CJCC also use the funding provided by BJA to assist law enforcement agencies statewide in unsolved cases that meet the Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) criteria.''
 
Another reminder not to pay too much attention to estimated age ranges. Hers was 28-52. She was almost ten years younger than the youngest estimate!
Agreed, unfortunately this type of discrepancy has been used as a reason (or one of) for exclusion, particularly on historical cases. The numbers of cases where stats have changed post-DNA work and/or post identity through other means is really quite astounding. Remains go from white to black, male to female, younger to older, and all of the variations in between. The "experts" do their best, but sometimes they are just wrong ... including and sometimes most definitely with the reconstructions. <modsnip>

One absolutely has to think outside of the box and utilize the available tools, which thank goodness was done in this case. I'm sure glad it was possible. Kudos to the LE agencies and Othram. Peace.
 
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Working with Othram, investigators identified a relative of Pless, who connected them with her remaining family members.
597107.jpg

Little's painting of Pless. Credit: FBI

“The family members of Yvonne Pless and Fredonia Smith now have closure concerning their missing or victimized loved one,” said Sheriff David Davis. “I believe with continued dedication, teamwork, and advancement in technology, we can bring that same closure to other awaiting families.”

The paintings can be found on the FBI’s website, where the agency is asking for the public’s help in matching the remaining unconfirmed confessions.
 
This photo has to be
Working with Othram, investigators identified a relative of Pless, who connected them with her remaining family members.
597107.jpg

Little's painting of Pless. Credit: FBI

“The family members of Yvonne Pless and Fredonia Smith now have closure concerning their missing or victimized loved one,” said Sheriff David Davis. “I believe with continued dedication, teamwork, and advancement in technology, we can bring that same closure to other awaiting families.”

The paintings can be found on the FBI’s website, where the agency is asking for the public’s help in matching the remaining unconfirmed confessions.
Could have sworn this confession was unmatched still... I'm pretty sure this was an Atlanta murder. Anyways, found a photo of who I strongly believe is Yvonne in the Bibb Technical High School yearbook.


There's actually another one from a year prior.


@othram is there any way to confirm these photos as being of Yvonne as while the circumstances make it seem likely we have to be certain.
 
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This photo has to be

Could have sworn this confession was unmatched still... I'm pretty sure this was an Atlanta murder. Anyways, found a photo of who I strongly believe is Yvonne in the Bibb Technical High School yearbook.
View attachment 423598

There's actually another one from a year prior.
View attachment 423601

@othram is there any way to confirm these photos as being of Yvonne as while the circumstances make it seem likely we have to be certain.
Law enforcement is trying to confirm with the family...
 
Even though the photos are still seemingly unconfirmed, I have a strong feeling they're of Yvonne.
 
@othram were the photos I found back in May confirmed to be Yvonne? Last I heard you said LE was trying to confirm these photos with her family.

If you don't know, my guess would be because now that you're not affiliated with the case anymore (given Yvonne's ID), they didn't say anything more.
 
Yvonne's pictures were removed based on the family asking her pictures not be posted on the Internet. We cannot confirm 100 percent that the family said this, but to be on the safe side, we have removed them from public view.
 

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