Lavender Doe was discovered on October 29, 2006, in Kilgore, TX by two men target shooting on an oil lease off Fritz Swanson Road near Highway 31. Her body was found face down on a burning woodpile, with a gas can nearby.
Due to the state of her remains, her exact cause of death was undetermined; however, law enforcement officials are investigating her death as a homicide. She was also presumably raped, as semen was found at the scene.
Lavender Doe was believed to be recently deceased, between 17 to 25 years old, estimated 5’3 to 5’5, and weighing approximately 96-120 pounds. Two of her deciduous teeth remained, which is considered a strong distinguishing characteristic due to her age. She was found wearing a lavender sweater, the origin of her nickname. She was also wearing a pair of “One Tuff Jeans” with a total of forty dollars in her pocket, but no identification.
In August 2018, a person of interest confessed to the victim’s murder, as well as that of a former girlfriend. He stated her name may have been “Ashley” during life. She may have been seen alive at a Walmart store in Longview, Texas. Many have commented on her “perfect smile.”
Agency of Jurisdiction
Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office
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On February 11, 2019, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) of Longview, Texas officially identified the homicide victim “Lavender Doe” as Dana Lynn Dodd of Jacksonville, Florida. Since July 2018 the DNA Doe Project (DDP) had been working closely with the GCSO on this case, and on January 29, 2019, announced their volunteer genealogists made a tentative identification. GCSO chose not to release her name immediately due to the pending homicide investigation.
Little is known about Dana other than her last known address was in Jacksonville, Florida. She would have been 21 years old at the time of her death. Despite of the fact that investigators could identify her, mystery still remains about Dana’s life and disappearance. Apparently, she had not been reported missing.
On August 27, 2018 Joseph Wayne Burnette, 41, confessed to killing “Lavender Doe”, who said she had the first name or had gone by the name “Ashley”. Based on information provided by Burnette, on the day of the murder Lavender Doe was possibly at the Walmart Supercenter on Fourth Street in Longview, Texas, walking the parking lot by the lawn and garden area trying to sell items from a brochure to customers as they entered and exited the store. Burnette claims he convinced the victim to enter his vehicle when she solicited him to buy items from a magazine. Burnette remains in the Gregg County jail on bonds totaling $2.5M awaiting trial.
Read more about the search for the identity of Lavender Doe:
Photo Reconstruction Credit: Carl Koppelman