DNA testing identifies victim of cold case murder

DNA testing identifies victim of cold case murder (Image 1)

Sixteen years after an unidentified woman's remains were found on the banks of Percy Priest Lake, DNA testing has confirmed her identity.

Jennifer Cole, originally from Dallas, Texas, went missing in 1996 in Nashville the age of 22.

DNA testing confirmed that she is the unidentified murder victim found on March 10, 1997 by a local fisherman off Alvin Sperry Road in Wilson County.

The DNA match was made at the Center of Human Identification at the University of North Texas via samples submitted by Cole's parents.

When Cole went missing, her mother tried to file a missing person report in Texas, but found out years later that no documentation had been filed.

The report was finally taken by the Garland, Texas police department in 2005.

The lack of her identity, however, did not prevent Cole's murder from being solved.

In October of 2000, Nashville detectives arrested Luther Nelson Lynch on a charge of first degree murder, partly based on various statements he had made about the death of a woman.

An investigation revealed that he had picked up the victim for prostitution on Dickerson Road in the summer of 1996.

Tim Mason, a private investigator who retired in 2006, said the case file stayed on his shelf and remained open for him.

“It's kind of haunted me that I've never been able to let this girl's parents know where she is and be able to put her to rest,” Mason said.

He went on to say that Lynch told authorities he put Cole in a trash can in his closet for three days, and ended up taking her to Percy Priest where be buried her.

Jeri Anozie, Cole's mother, spoke to Nashville's News 2 and said that she wasn't aware her daughter was involved in prostitution, but knew she was part of a drug scene.

Anozie is grateful that the mystery of daughter's disappearance has finally been solved.

“It's mind boggling and mind blowing, and thank goodness for DNA or it never would have been closed. She was a beautiful girl,” she said.

Lynch was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2001 and received a 15 year sentences.

He was released in 2011.

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