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Bossier Doe Identified as Carol Ann Cole

bossier doe and carol ann cole
Bossier Doe and Carol Ann Cole

In you are not familiar with the Bossier Doe murder case, please read Is 34 Year Old Murder Case Connected to New Bethany Home for Girls and New Bethany Home for Girls: DNA Requested in Unsolved Murder Case.

Thanks to a DNA match, we now know that the Bossier Doe is Carol Ann Cole from Kalamazoo, Michigan, a 17-year-old girl who went missing 34 years ago. NOLA.com reports:

After 34 years, Carol Ann Cole is found.

The missing Michigan teen is a DNA match for a young woman found dead with stab wounds in the woods of north Louisiana on Jan. 28, 1981.

Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington announced the news Thursday (March 5), two weeks after Cole’s parents submitted their DNA samples at a police station near Kalamazoo, Mich., in response to leads developed through Facebook.

“It’s been a long 34 years, one month and five days of waiting for the Cole family, Whittington said. “I’m here to tell you the waiting is over and Carol Ann is coming home.”

A few feet away stood Linda “Jeanie” Phelps, 48, Carol Ann’s little sister who has spent decades searching for her blonde-haired, blue-eyed sibling — the one she said loved Shaun Cassidy and always kept her out of trouble.

“All I can think right now is wow. I finally found Carol Ann,” said Phelps, who traveled from her home in Kalamazoo to be present for the announcement. “Definitely not the way I wanted to find my sister…There was a sense of relief, but also a deep sadness.”

Phelps said she never gave up on finding her sister and thanked those who didn’t give up to find out who Bossier Doe was…

…Carol Ann went missing after she moved from Michigan to San Antonio, Texas, with her mother, Sue Cole in 1979 or 1980.

Cole said she was having difficulties with her daughter and decided to place her in a girl’s home outside of San Antonio. Cole said she was informed Carol Ann ran away from the residence near her 17th birthday, Nov. 5, 1980 — but Cole said she has no recollection of where the home was and what it was called.

The last contact the teenager had with her family, according to Phelps, was when she placed a collect call from a residence in Shreveport to her paternal grandmother in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The family was later told that Carol Ann was babysitting there.

Phelps and longtime family friend Patty Thorington have been searching for Carol Ann for decades. And despite their efforts to file a missing persons report with various police agencies over the years, Phelps said they were only recently able to get information about Carol Ann formally entered into a national missing persons database. A formal missing persons report was made Feb. 4, according to Bossier Parish Sgt. Dave Faulk…

…Detectives have called John R. Chesson, the Vinton man who found Bossier Doe while hunting in 1981, a “person of interest” in Bossier Doe’s death. Chesson is now in prison after being convicted in the 1997 murder of his estranged wife’s former mother-in-law.

Bossier Parish detectives also have been investigating whether their victim had any ties to New Bethany Home for Girls, a religious girls home roughly 40 miles from where the body was found. A photo that surfaced from New Bethany includes an image of a young woman who Phelps believed resembles Carol Ann. But until now, Phelps has said that without the results of the DNA tests in hand, the possibility has has brought only more questions and grief.

Sgt. Faulk said the agency will be following all leads to gather information about who killed Carol Ann. He said that to date there is “no solid indication” that she was at New Bethany. Asked about Chesson’s significance in the current investigation, Faulk said that anytime someone finds a body, they are a person of interest…

It remains to be seen if Cole spent any time at New Bethany Home for Girls. The report notes that Cole was sent to a group home in San Antonio, Texas, leading to speculation that she might have been in one of Lester Roloff’s infamous group homes.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    khughes1963

    Lester Roloff and Mack Ford are both dead, but the harm they caused the kids in their religious jails lives on. I am thankful and also sad that Carol Ann Cole has been identified. She deserved better than to be murdered and unidentified for so long.

    • Avatar
      Kittybrat

      That’s for sure, khughes1963. Although the identity of Bossier Doe is now known to be Carol Ann, it’s a bittersweet confirmation. Oh, that her sister would have found her sister alive someplace. To know that Carol Ann died by being brutally murdered has got to be a horrific fact to live with. I hope that the search for her killer is done meticulously, and that this person is found out.

  2. Avatar
    Tbird

    Why have they not yet charged John Chesson with this murder? Since the pants and belt from the scene where Carol Ann’s body was found could not have physically been on Carol Ann’s body, (based on the physical condition of the corpse when it was found according to the description given by Lt. Mack), how come the DNA taken from the pants, along with any that would have come from the handle of the knife that was stuck in the ground nearby and covered with a towel, hasn’t already been matches to Chesson’s DNA? How come they are continuing to make that poor family WAIT?

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