TN GATLINBURG JANE DOE: WF, 30-45, found under Ober Gatlinburg tramway, TN - 22 Dec 1974 *CHARLOTTE HENRY*



On Dec. 22, 1974 an unidentified woman's body was discovered under the Tramway down the mountain from the Ober Gatlinburg parking lot. W.B. Ogle, who was the police chief at the time, said hikers found the body. "We had the assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the park service but nothing ever turned up," he said.

Gatlinburg Police Capt. Randy Brackins, who was a cadet at the time, said former Detective Lester Rowland had a sketch made of the unidentified woman about 10 years ago but nothing turned up at that time either. The cause of death was unknown due to decomposition of the body. Investigators initially thought the body was found about 30 days after the death of the victim, according to The Doe Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to solving cold cases of unidentified victims. However, a Knoxville medical examiner determined the body had been there anywhere from six months to a year, said Gail Williams of the Doe Network.

The Doe Network gives the following description of the victim:

She was a 34- to 38-year-old woman. She was approximately 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds.

She had light brown hair, cut fairly short with lots of hair located in the region of the remains.

She was wearing short brown men's socks and no shoes. Her coat and sweater were folded neatly beside her where she had been sitting on them. She was wearing a white button-down Sweettree sweater, a size 36A bra, a dark blue coat, extra-large dark blue knit Mayer-Land-Marquis pants and a white short-sleeved shirt with a floral design of yellow flowers.

There was no sign of a purse or any identification.

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by: Hope McAlee
Posted: Jan 6, 2023 / 02:30 PM EST
Updated: Jan 4, 2023 / 03:52 PM EST

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A woman whose remains were found below a tramway station in Gatlinburg 48 years ago is still unidentified.

The only name given for this woman is #UP1589, an identifier given to her by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) in 2008. The woman was estimated to be between the ages of 30-45, but when she was found on Dec. 22, 1974, her remains were no longer recognizable according to her NamUs entry. If the estimate of her age was correct, she would be between the ages of 78-93 in 2023.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office found her body near Cove Mountain chalet, below a tramway station at Gatlinburg Ski Lodge, according to NamUs. It was estimated that she was found two months after she died.

NamUs estimates that the woman was around 5’8″ tall and around 140 pounds. She was described as Caucasian with short brown hair and hazel eyes. She was wearing a white short-sleeved blouse with small yellow flowers, a white sweater with a dark blue coat, dark blue pants and dark blue heavy men’s socks over pantyhose.

Notably, NamUs says that when she was found, no shoes were found and she was not wearing any jewelry.

The other agencies listed in the report are the Gatlinburg Police Department, which investigated the case, and the Knox County Regional Forensic Center. To see the full report on NamUs, click here.

In December 1974, the Gatlinburg Police received a call from a man who stated that he and his friends were taking a shortcut back to their chalet, when they discovered the remains of a body, below the tramway station at Gatlinburg Ski Lodge. Chief of Police, W.B. Ogle and Sergeant J.G. Moore responded to the scene, which was a remote area, just east of the tramway, that was untraveled. The body was found lying face down on a coat that had been spread when she had been apparently sitting against a tree. No identifying information was found near the body or the scene.

Dr. John Hickey, Sevier County Medical Examiner, was requested to aid in the identification of the body that was in an advanced stage of decay. Medical Examiner Dr. John Hickey and Dr. William M. Bass, State Forensic Anthropologist, met at Atchley Funeral Home and Mr. Harold Atchley, it was decided that the body should be taken to the morgue of the University of Tennessee Memorial Research Center and Hospital, and have an autopsy performed. Case Number assigned to the case was 74-11. The autopsy report does not indicate cause of death.

In January 1975, letters were sent to area Police Agencies requesting assistance to identify or send information of missing persons. Letters were sent to the FBI, TBI and the States of South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. In spite of the efforts, no identification could be made.

Throughout the years and as technology improved many investigators attempted to identify the remains but were unsuccessful. In 2007, computerized technology help produce a composite of the deceased but no identity was ever discovered. In 2007 a new Dental identification was utilized through NCIC and once again no identification was discovered. The case was submitted to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP1589.

In 2021, skeletal remains from the unidentified woman were submitted to Othram for forensic genetic genealogy testing, in hopes of identifying potential relatives. Othram produced a suitable DNA extract from the skeletal remains and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to produce a comprehensive DNA profile. Othram's in-house genetic genealogy team then worked to produce investigative leads. These were transmitted back to the agency and investigators were able to identify a potential relative that currently resides in Arkansas. That individual was contacted and did, in fact, report having a sister who had been missing since August of 1974 and was last believed to be in Tennessee. A DNA sample of that individual was submitted for direct comparison to the unidentified. The results positively identified her to be Charlotte Roberta Henry, born Jan. 4, 1939, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ms. Henry was last seen, by her relatives, at her father’s funeral in April of 1974.The family received a letter from her in August of 1974 from 2124 Vinton, Memphis Tennessee.

The Chief of the Gatlinburg Police Department wants to commend the Investigative Division of the Gatlinburg Police Department for their relentless determination to solve this case and mostly recently, Detective Cindy Myers.

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