A DNA sample confirmed that the body of a girl who was found shot to death in a rural town in western New York 35 years ago is Tammy Jo Alexander.
Alexander went missing in Florida when she was 16 years old. For years, investigators have been following thousands of different leads to try and figure out what exactly happened to the teen girl, who last lived in Brooksville and attended Hernando High School.
In August, a former classmate told Hernando County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty that Alexander had gone missing between 1977 and 1979, around the same time an unidentified body had been found in New York. The information was then added to the Florida Crime Information Center database and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Authorities then contacted a half sister of Alexander for a DNA sample. On January 7, investigators were told that Alexander was a match for the body found in the rural town of Caledonia on November 10, 1979.
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According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, Alexander’s family had never reported her missing. Former Livingston County Sheriff John York told reporters that “it’s hard to imagine that someone could just throw a child away” but added that “It’s a great day to give her a name.”
Alexander’s body was found with gunshot wounds to the head and back and her pockets turned inside out. Police is asking anyone with information on the shooting to contact the FBI. "I promise you, this (cold) case is burning hot," Dougherty told reporters. "We're going to be working it harder than ever."