Roane County Jane Doe Identified: Betty L. Wisley

Fraulein Motte
2 min readNov 30, 2023

On August 29, 1987, a passerby found the burned remains of a woman next to a dumpster. After 36 years she was finally identified as Betty L. Wisley.

What happened to Betty?

Betty Lou Wisley

On August 29, 1987, a passerby discovered a body beside a garbage dumpster in the 2600 block of Highway 58 in Kingston, Tennessee. The victim, a 30 to 50-year-old woman, had been burned after her death and left near the dumpster.

An initial autopsy revealed that the woman had an old gunshot wound to her third thoracic vertebrae with the bullet still lodged in her spine.

Despite investigators’ attempts to identify her, their efforts were unsuccessful. The woman was labeled as Jane Doe, and her case went unresolved.

Several years later, a forensic sketch of the woman was made public, but it failed to generate any leads.

In April 2009, the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center submitted a sample of the woman’s remains to the FBI. Despite developing a DNA profile entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), no results emerged.

Fast forward to April 2023, when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) forwarded another sample to a private lab for forensic genetic genealogical testing. This time, scientists successfully provided the TBI with information about potential relatives.

By October 2023, investigators established contact with these genetic relatives and secured a reference DNA sample.

Finally, on November 30, 2023, the woman was positively identified as Betty Lou Wisley. Born on December 30, 1935, Betty hailed from Clinton, Missouri, but was residing in or around Knox County, Tennessee, at the time of her death.

The successful identification has rekindled hope among investigators, providing them with a renewed determination to solve this crime.

If you have any information regarding Betty’s death, please contact the Roane County Sheriff’s Office at 865–717–4722.

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Fraulein Motte

I'm an independent journalist and writer based in Tennessee, USA. I specialize in covering true crime and other related topics.