DNA of 3 men being tested in 1979 murder of Tammy Jo Alexander
One year after the body of a teenager killed decades ago was positively identified as Tammy Jo Alexander, investigators have received 76 new leads.
From that they have identified three people who have turned over samples of their DNA.
"These are persons of interest and we'd like to know a little bit more about these people and their past," said Investigator Brad Schneider of the Livingston County Sheriff's Office.
Before they even knew who she was, investigators hoped DNA science (not available in 1979) would one day provide answers.
Several years ago they tested every piece of clothing she was wearing and sent samples to the FBI crime lab. From that, they developed a profile of her DNA which was later matched to her sister and confirmed her identity.
For decades, the 16-year-old girl was known only as Jane Doe, found dead in a cornfield in Caledonia. Investigators have long said once they know her name, they will find her killer.
Billboards with her name and photo have since generated 76 leads.
Investigator Schneider spent a week in Hernandez County, Florida to develop a detailed accounting of her home life, her parents and the people she knew in the community there.
That's when they learned her mother and step-father operated a truck stop.
In August, investigators appeared on a satellite radio program called the Road Dog Trucking Show.
"Maybe someone in the trucking community remembers seeing her," Investigator Schneider said. "Whether they gave her a ride or saw her in a restaurant, something that helps us narrow down the timeline."
That broadcast generated a significant tip from a trucker in Tennessee.
The new leads led investigators back to the DNA tests from the clothing Tammy Jo was wearing.
"They were available to develop some unknown male profiles," Investigator Schneider said.
Yet Schneider cautions that things were held much differently than they are today.
"Do we have good samples to test against? Yes," Investigator Schneider said. "Could they be better? Yes."
They have now obtained DNA samples from three men who were somehow connected to the victim before she arrived here.
"I would be very hesitant to call them a suspect. But we want to know more," Investigator Schneider said.
To submit a tip, you can visit the FBI site on Tammy Jo Alexander.