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    The suspect in the 1996 double-homicide of Julie Willams and Lollie Winans has been identified, bringing closure for their families after 28 years.
    The suspect in the 1996 double-homicide of Julie Willams and Lollie Winans has been identified, bringing closure for their families after 28 years.

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    Cold Case Resolved: Suspect Identified in 1996 Double-Homicide

    Julianne "Julie" Williams and Laura "Lollie" Winans were found murdered in their campsite in Shenandoah National Park on June 1, 1996. They were 24 and 26 years old at the time. Williams and Winans were last seen hiking with a Golden Retriever named Taj on May 24, 1996. The dog was found wandering in the park and turned over to US Park Rangers near Whiteoak Canyon Trail. Searchers found the women's bodies in their campsite off the Bridle Trail near Skyland Resort. Over the ensuing years, investigators with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Richmond Field Office continued to work to bring justice for Julie and Lollie. In 2021, a new FBI team was assigned to conduct a methodic review of the case, reassess hundreds of leads and interviews, and prioritize evidence for retesting at an accredited private lab. In 2024, the lab pulled DNA from several items of evidence and, with assistance from the Virginia State Police, the profile was submitted to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and resulted in a positive match to a convicted serial rapist with a lengthy criminal history including kidnapping, rapes, and assaults. The suspect, Walter Leo Jackson, Sr., died in prison in 2018. With this cold case resolution, we extend our deepest condolences to the families of Julie and Lollie, and our profound gratitude to the members of the FBI Richmond investigative team.
    A forensic anthropology exam and CT scan of the victim's skull helped forensic artists create a digital facial reconstruction of what this victim of a long-ago homicide may have looked like.
    A forensic anthropology exam and CT scan of the victim's skull helped forensic artists create a digital facial reconstruction of what this victim of a long-ago homicide may have looked like.

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    Cold Case Resolved: "Summit Meadow Jane Doe" Identified

    The partial, skeletonized remains of a homicide victim were found in Yosemite National Park’s Summit Meadow along Glacier Point Road in June 1983. US Park Rangers responded to the site and NPS investigators began their investigation. Though the search for the remaining portion of the skeleton was unsuccessful, a human skull missing a mandible was found in the Summit Meadow area in May 1988. Throughout this time, NPS investigators worked with multiple laboratories and agencies in effort to identify the victim. Forensic anthropologists believed the victim's age to be between late teens to as old as 30. A forensic anthropology exam and a CT scan of the victim’s skull (without the jaw) helped forensic artists create a digital facial reconstruction of what she may have looked like. Investigators used this to create law enforcement bulletins that could help identify known missing persons. However, from 1989 to 2009, there were no new investigative leads or activity. Special Agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch (ISB) reopened the case in 2009, sending the skeletonized remains to the California Department of Justice for DNA analysis. That office confirmed the remains were female and were from the same person. Though the DNA profile was entered into a national database to identify missing persons, no new leads were generated. ISB Special Agents reopened the case in 2017, and leveraged resources from additional labs and experts in 2018 to produce updated forensic anthropology data, imaging, and DNA exams. In the fall of 2020, the ISB worked with Marshall University and Parabon Nano Labs to genotype the DNA and get a better profile to include ancestry, origin locations, as well as a better physical description for the unidentified victim. Through this process a more realistic composite photo was produced. ISB and Parabon followed up on leads by identifying potential relatives in the United States. Culminating decades of work, leveraging new technologies, and bringing closure for a family missing a loved one, this victim of a long-ago homicide was positively identified in 2021 as Patricia Dahlstrom.
    An anonymous tip submitted to us led to the discovery of human remains in a remote area of Mesa Verde National Park. A medical examiner positively identified the remains as those of Mitchell Dale Stehling.
    An anonymous tip led to the discovery of human remains in a remote area of Mesa Verde National Park. A medical examiner confirmed the remains are those of Mitchell Dale Stehling.

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    Cold Case Resolved: Mitchell Dale Stehling Located

    Mitchell Dale Stehling was last seen on Sunday, June 9, 2013 while hiking in Mesa Verde National Park. He was on a road trip with his wife, father, and mother. After telling his family that he wanted to see the Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling, Stehling started hiking at approximately 4:30 pm. The trail to the dwelling is less than 1/4 mile long and connects with the Petroglyph Point Trail. Stehling did not return from his hike and searchers were unable to find him. He was 51 years old at the time he went missing. An anonymous tip submitted via the NPS-wide Tip Line led to the discovery of human remains in a remote area of the park. US Park Rangers, an ISB Special Agent, and personnel from the Montezuma County Coroner's Office located and recovered the remains on September 17, 2020. The remains and some personal items were found approximately 4.2 miles from the point where Stehling was last seen in June 2013. A medical examiner positively identified the remains as those of Mitchell Dale Stehling. There was no indication of foul play. Our thoughts are with the family, and we thank the person who submitted the tip to us. Park officials appreciate their personnel, community search and rescue, law enforcement groups, and the public for their support through the 7 year investigation.
    National Park Service search-and-rescue (SAR) responders.
    The NPS is dedicated to protecting the health, safety, and wellness of our visitors and employees. Our search-and-rescue (SAR) responders, officers, and special agents are the subject-matter experts for inland SAR and missing person investigations, from urban parks to wilderness areas of the NPS.

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    Is someone lost or missing in a National Park Service area?

    Learn more about missing persons in National Park Service areas, and how to report a missing person.

    Cold Cases are crimes or incidents - including missing persons - that have yet to be solved and have no active leads. Do you have information that could help investigators with these cases?

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    Last updated: June 23, 2024