Investigators have identified that the body of a woman found in New Hampshire over 50 years ago belonged to a woman from Massachusetts who was supposed to see her family off at the airport as they moved to Texas but never did.
The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said Monday that forensic testing and help from the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit that uses investigative genetic genealogy, helped find Katherine Ann “Kathy” Alston, 26, of Boston.
The DNA Doe Project said that in the end, a genetic match was found with one of Alton’s siblings who had taken a DNA test and uploaded their file to GEDmatch. The group said, “Working in the lab to make a DNA profile was hard, and in the end, we needed a second bone sample.”
Alton’s body parts were found in the woods in Bedford, New Hampshire, on October 6, 1971. Up to three months had passed since she died. Investigators have said that she was killed, but they haven’t found out why.
Attorney General John Formella said, “We are committed to staying on this case, and we will work hard with our law enforcement partners to follow any leads that might help us figure out who might have killed Ms. Alston.”
No one has said that Alston is missing, and there is no record of that. She was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. In 1963, she got her high school diploma from Dorchester High School and then went to Boston University. In 1967, she got married to Ralph Lawson Garrett, Jr., who was also a student in Newton. However, they later got a divorce. Garrett has since died, and the attorney general’s office said, “There is no evidence that the divorce was not friendly.”
At the end of summer 1971, Alston’s parents and siblings moved from Massachusetts to Texas, where her father’s family was from. Her younger siblings said that she was supposed to meet them at Logan Airport, but she never did.
Benjamin Agati, the senior assistant attorney general, said, “I don’t know what her relationship with her parents was like.” “I also don’t know what was said, but I do know that after the genetic match was made and we talked to her family, they just said that after her parents moved them, they never saw or talked to her again.
A spokesperson for the office said that Alston’s parents have passed away and that his family did not want to say anything.
The attorney general’s office said, “Based on this identification, the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit is now asking the public for help in finding the person who killed Ms. Alston.”
At the time of her death, Alston was said to have been living on Boston’s Beacon Street with a man named David Cormier. Investigators from the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit are trying to find him and anyone else who knew her. This includes people who lived in Boston, Dorchester, and Sommerville between 1963 and 1971, as well as students at Boston University between 1963 and 1967.