Brenda Joyce Williams (February 1, 1955 - c. April/June 1978) was a woman who disappeared in 1978. She was identified in 2017 after DNA samples from her family matched that of a jawbone discovered in 1986.

Background

Williams lived in Tampa, Florida. She was described as "wild" by family members and committed minor offenses during her life, including drug use. She was the mother of two daughters, whom she had at ages 15 and 22. Following her release from incarceration, she managed to secure her own apartment and appeared to be making progress to "get her act together."

She was previously involved in an automobile accident, which caused an ear-to-ear scar under her chin, as well as a partial denture.

Case

Brenda disappeared circa April or June 1978 after appearing at a friend's party. She reportedly asked a friend to leave the area with her and an unidentified companion, which was declined. The circumstances surrounding her absence were unclear, and it was speculated that she may have voluntarily left the area or suffered from amnesia, or a similar impairment.

Brenda was known to be in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend, whom she appeared to be threatened by. There were two unconfirmed sightings in the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida.

There were no records of a missing person report being filed around the time she disappeared. It is unknown if records were misplaced or ever on file with the local police, who have denied the family's concerns that race played a factor with the level of investigation.

On May 8, 1986, a child discovered a human jawbone in a field in the same city Brenda disappeared from. No other remains were found in the area. Because of the absence of most of her bones, determining how she died, as well as the manner of death was impossible.

In 2017, her sisters initially believed she was the still-unidentified Hillsborough County Jane Doe, following the release of the unidentified woman's reconstruction. Police were unsure if this was a match because of the seven-year interval, and the fact that the 1985 Jane Doe had died within weeks. The following month, DNA later showed they were not the same people.

A match to the lone mandible was made in 2017 via DNA collected from her siblings. No postmortem interval is currently listed for the remains. As a result, it is unknown when her death occurred after she was last seen. Williams' obituary lists her age at death as 31, and her remains were surrendered to her next-of-kin for burial.

Sources

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