Decapitated woman's body ID'ed, hunt for killer begins - FOX Carolina 21

Decapitated woman's body ID'ed, hunt for killer begins

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Madelyn Cox Thomas (Spartanburg Co. Coroner's Office) Madelyn Cox Thomas (Spartanburg Co. Coroner's Office)
Coroner Rusty Clevenger announces the identification of Thomas' body. (Aug. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina) Coroner Rusty Clevenger announces the identification of Thomas' body. (Aug. 8, 2013/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger announced that the body of a woman reported missing since July 1990 has been identified through her mother's DNA.

Clevenger said the body of Madelyn Cox Thomas, of Gastonia, NC, was found along Davis Chapel Road near Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, in August of 1990, by a woman walking her dog.

Clevenger said Thomas' body had been decapitated and mutilated in other ways that made it impossible to identify through conventional methods. Investigators were able to determine that Thomas had been stabbed to death.

Investigators said a big break came in the case, when the victim's mother had her own DNA uploaded into a government website for missing people called namus.gov. Clevenger said the online database was able to match the mom's DNA to Thomas.

Sheriff Chuck Wright said that investigators with his department will now work with detectives from the Gaston County Police Department to find Thomas' killer.

"It gives us a point of contact that we can work backward from that point," said Wright of today's announcement.

Wright said Thomas was reported missing by her husband a month before her body was found. The state of North Carolina declared Thomas legally dead in 1998.

Clevenger said an investigator from his office traveled to Pennsylvania to let Thomas' family know she had been found.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC

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