Cold Case Homicide Victim Identified After 52 Years, Police Need Help Finding Kathy Alston's Killer

Kathy Alston
Kathy Alston was killed in 1971, authorities said.DNA Jane Doe Project

Kathy Alston was never reported missing. Her body was found more than 50 years ago and has just been identified using DNA and genetic genealogy.

After 52 years, a body dumped in the New Hampshire woods has finally been identified. And the police need help to find her killer.

Katherine "Kathy" Ann Alston was 26 when she disappeared from her Boston apartment. Her remains were found in 1971, on a logging road in the New Hampshire woods. She had been dead for up to three months, authorities said.

But it wasn't until this week that a name could be put to her body. Investigators, using DNA and the help of genetic genealogists from DNA Jane Doe Project announced they had, at long last, identified the remains.

Oddly, no one had ever reported the young woman missing, officials said.

"Who she worked with, where she spent her evenings, whoever she was being social with, her group of friends, it's somebody that would have reported that she didn't show up to work or she didn't meet them for coffee, and yet nobody did," said New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati. "So, that is one of the more interesting aspects of this case, and that's one of the big mysteries we're hoping to get help in solving."

In the summer of 1971, Alston's parents and siblings moved from Massachusetts to Texas. She was supposed to meet them at Boston's Logan International Airport to say goodbye, but she never showed up.

"I don't know what family dynamics were like between her and her parents," Agati said. "I also don't know what was said, but I can tell that after the match was made and we did have a chance to speak with members of her family, they just said after mom and dad moved them, they never saw her again and they never spoke with her."

Alston's relatives did not want to comment, the attorney general's office said.

The woman had been living in Boston with a roommate when she disappeared, authorities said. Investigators said they are trying to locate the roommate, David Cormier, but do not know his age. 

Alston was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1945. She graduated from Dorchester High School in 1963 and studied at Boston University. There, she met classmate Ralph Lawson Garrett, Jr. and they married in 1967. The couple later divorced, authorities said. Garrett is now dead.

"There is no evidence to suggest the divorce was not amicable," the attorney general's office said.

Investigators said they need the public's help to find Alston's killer. A cause of death has not been found, but police said her death was a homicide.

Authorities said anyone who lived in the Dorchester, Boston and Somerville area between 1963 and the fall of 1971 and knew Alston or her roommate, Cormier, is asked to contact investigators.

Students who attended Boston University from 1963 to 1967 and knew Alston are also asked to contact the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit at 603-271-2663 or submit an online tip to www.doj.nh.doj/criminal/cold-case.

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