|Status||Unidentified for 12 years, 1 month and 8 days|
|Died||October 29, 2006 (aged 17–25)|
|Cause of death||Undetermined, investigated as homicide|
|Body discovered||October 29, 2006 |
Kilgore, Texas, US
|Resting place||White Cemetery, Longview, Texas, US|
|Known for||Unidentified victim of homicide|
|Height||Between 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) |
and 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
|Weight||96 lb (44 kg) (minimum) |
120 lb (54 kg) (maximum)
Lavender Doe is the nickname given to an unidentified murder victim whose body was found in 2006 in Kilgore, Texas. Efforts to identify the remains thus far proven fruitless. Investigators hope that a new reconstruction of the victim may uncover more leads. In August 2018, Joseph Wayne Burnette was indicted for her murder, following a confession, stating her name may have been "Ashley."
The body of a white or possibly Middle Eastern female between 17 and 25 years old was found on October 29, 2006. in Kilgore, Texas, lying face-down on a pile of burning brush. The body was severely burnt, but clothing including a purple sweater and a pair of jeans were recovered. A total of forty dollars was found in her pockets.
Two of her deciduous teeth were still present, which may be of help in determining her identity. She weighed approximately 100 to 120 pounds, was between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 5 inches tall and was most likely from a middle-class household. The victim's hair color was likely reddish or blonde with blonde or red highlights, but may have been entirely strawberry-blonde or light brown.
Initially, she was believed to have been as young as 13, and race and sex were considered unknown until further study. Due to the recovery of an empty gasoline can from the scene and the nature of her death, the case is being investigated as a homicide. Semen was found on forensic examination, indicating that she may have been a victim of rape prior to death.
According to residents of the area, there were many "suspicious people" in the vicinity of the oil field where the body was discovered and some referred to the location as a "killing ground." Because of the condition of the body, the face was reconstructed three times—with clay, in a sketch by a forensic artist, and in January 2014, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a digital composite image produced from a CT scan after the remains were exhumed on October 2, 2013.
Despite comparison with the dental records and DNA of a large number of missing persons, the search for her identity has remained fruitless. After the release of the most recent reconstruction, the mother of missing 23-year-old Brandi Wells, who disappeared after going out to a nightclub in Longview, Texas in August 2006, contacted authorities, feeling the composite strongly resembled her daughter. DNA testing eliminated the possibility that the unidentified body could be Brandi Wells.
In 2007, a suspect in the case emerged, Joseph Wayne Burnett, 36, who is a convicted sex offender and was imprisoned for another crime at the time police announced suspicion he was the murderer. Burnett previously denied involvement in the murder, however, on August 27, 2018 he confessed to the killing of Lavender Doe, along with the 2018 murder of Felisha Pearson. As of 2018, the DNA Doe Project has taken on the case, and is currently trying to uncover Lavender Doe's identity.
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