The skeletal remains of a woman known as “Escatawpa Jane Doe” have been identified, after more than four decades, as Clara Birdlong of Leflore County, Mississippi. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department announced the positive identification on Tuesday, saying they believe Birdlong was a victim of Samuel Little, the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. Birdlong’s remains were found in 1977, three to four months after she was killed. Investigators said at the time she was a short Black woman with a distinctive gold front tooth. As forensic technology evolved, authorities used “several facial reconstructions and computer composites” to try to figure out who she was. The case made its most significant progress recently when Mississippi officials used a DNA research facility in Texas to trace Birdlong to living family members.
Little confessed to 93 killings between 1970 and 2005, which analysts have called credible admissions. At the time of his death in prison last year, nearly half of his confirmed victims had not been identified.