Remains of woman found injured in Georgia ditch identified 37 years later as missing mother

BAKER COUNTY, Ga. — The remains of a woman who died 37 years ago in rural Georgia have been identified as a missing Florida mother.

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The woman, identified as Mary Anga Cowan, was found injured and unconscious by a passerby on Georgia Highway 91 near Newton on May 14, 1985. She died of a subdural hematoma on June 1, 1985. The Georgia Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Cowan suffered from blunt force trauma to the head.


The M.E. was not able to determine the manner of Cowan’s death.

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Cowan’s remains were exhumed in 2012 and officials recovered a sample bone fragment, but a private lab couldn’t find a DNA match. In March 2022, the GBI partnered with the FBI to complete a genealogical analysis on the remains.

In Oct. 2022, researchers developed a DNA profile, which they were able to match to one of Cowan’s children.

The GBI did not say if they believe that Cowan was a victim of foul play or why she was in Georgia.

It’s unclear if the GBI is searching for any suspects in Cowan’s death.