2 Cold Case Murder Victims Identified After 3 Long Decades

Two cold case murder victims have finally been identified.
Howard “Kip” Evans, left, went missing in 1984, and Doris Regina Chavers, was last seen in 1989.Volusia County Sheriff's Office

The Florida murder victims were without names for 30 years.

After three decades, two Florida murder victims finally have names. Howard "Kip" Evans, who vanished in 1984, and Doris Regina Chavers, who hadn't been seen since 1989, were finally identified by cold case investigators in Volusia County, Florida.

DNA testing led to formal identification of the remains. Bones now known to belong to Evans were found on Jan. 18, 1986 off a road near Ormond Beach. 

An autopsy determined he had suffered blunt force trauma in a violent attack, but detectives were unable to identify the body, authorities said. Instead, he was listed as "John Doe 1986."

Years passed with no news. Sheriff's investigators were able to extract DNA evidence from the remains between 2006 and 2011, and the samples were sent to a testing lab. But no matches were found.

A facial reconstruction was created in 2014 by researchers at the University of South Florida, but that still didn't result in a name being given to John Doe 1986.

The next break came in 2019, when detectives learned of a social media post on missing person's Facebook page by the mother of Evans. A report of his disappearance was never filed, and Evans, who was 29 when he went missing, was declared legally dead in 1990.

Genetic evidence supplied by his mother led to a match with samples held by sheriff's investigators.

A similar scenario led to the identification of "Jane Doe 1991," who was later determined to be Chavers, who was 32 when she was last seen alive at her mother's home in Sanford in 1989.

In 1991, two fisherman found the skeletal remains of a woman believed to be in her 30s or 40s. She had been violently killed, and investigators weren't able to identify her.

In 2018, Chavers' daughter submitted her DNA for testing, authorities said. Lab analyses ultimately matched her DNA to her mom's genetic samples. 

“Upon learning her mother had been located, she was relieved to finally get some sense of closure. She said she always felt that something terrible must have happened, and that her mother would have never just abandoned her,” a spokesperson for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Neither murder has been solved. Anyone with information is asked to sheriff's deputies at 386-254-1537.