Decades-Old Mystery Partially Solved: Missing Massachusetts Woman Identified as Lori Jane Kearsey

Maehgan Smith (left) and Lori Kearsey (right)

After 39 years, the family of Lori Jane Kearsey from Gloucester, Massachusetts, finally received answers regarding her mysterious disappearance. Kearsey, who vanished during a Florida vacation in 1984, leaving behind a 5-year-old daughter, has been identified as a victim of homicide.

In a significant breakthrough, detectives from Davie, Florida, contacted Kearsey’s daughter, Maehgan Smith, inquiring if any of her immediate female family members had gone missing in 1984. Despite releasing a detailed description of the unidentified woman found strangled in a West Davie canal in February 1984, the Davie Police Department had been unable to identify Kearsey for nearly four decades.

The case, which had gone cold, was reopened in 2021, leading to DNA extracted from the bone fragments of the Jane Doe being linked to Smith. “Investigators used several resources, including forensic digital imagining and DNA extraction, to identify a potential family tree,” stated Davie Police Sgt. Kevin Urbaez.

Smith, who had come to terms with never knowing what happened to her mother, shared her mother’s background, including her brief marriage to a member of a “pretty infamous Boston crime family.” However, neither Smith nor the Davie Police Department disclosed the husband’s name publicly. “They don’t have enough for an arrest right now, [but] they do have people of interest,” Smith mentioned.

Kearsey’s family had assumed she was in the witness protection program since she was never reported missing. Smith, raised by her father and stepmother, often pondered her mother’s fate, noticing her resemblance to the mother she barely knew.

As detectives continue to gather evidence, including analyzing Kearsey’s clothing found at the scene, the hope for a 100% conviction remains uncertain. Smith maintains a positive outlook, believing that the perpetrator will live in fear of being uncovered due to advancements in forensic testing.

The Davie Police Department remains committed to bringing the culprits to justice, with Sgt. Urbaez emphasizing their determination. Broward County Crime Stoppers encourages anyone with relevant information to contact 954-493-TIPS for a potential reward of $5,000.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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