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Murder of Carol Cole

Murder of Carol Cole

Carol Ann Cole (previously nicknamed as "Bossier Doe" or "Bossier's Doe" and officially known as Cold Case No. 81-018329)[1][2] was a seventeen-year-old American murder victim whose body was discovered in early 1981 in Bellevue, Bossier Parish, Louisiana.[3] The victim remained unidentified until 2015, when DNA tests confirmed her identity. Cole, native to Kalamazoo, Michigan, had been missing from San Antonio, Texas since 1980.[4] Cole's murder remains unsolved, although the investigation is continuing.[5]

Carol Cole
Reconstruction created by the Louisiana State University FACES Lab (left) compared to an image of Carol Cole from 1978 (right)
BornNovember 5, 1963
DiedDecember 1980 (aged 17)
Cause of deathHomicide by stabbing
Body discoveredJanuary 28, 1981
Resting placeMaple Grove Cemetery, Comstock Township, Michigan
Other namesBossier Doe, Bossier's Doe
CitizenshipUnited States
Known forMurder victim


Carol Cole and her sister Linda "Jeanie" Phelps lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, primarily under the care of their grandmother after their mother and father divorced. Later in life, Cole decided to leave Kalamazoo to accompany her mother, Sue, to San Antonio, Texas in 1979 at age 15 but remained in contact with her sister by telephone. Cole was at a girl's home run by the Palmer Drug Abuse Program, also called PDAP, on West 23rd St. in Austin, Texas, from May to October 1980.[6]

She continued to call and mail letters to her family, which eventually ceased in late December 1980. A location that Cole had stayed after leaving PDAP was traced by her grandmother in Kalamazoo to a home in Shreveport, Louisiana.[7] Her grandmother called the residence where she was informed that Cole had departed to attend a party but she had never returned.[8] Linda Phelps and her friend Patty Thorington continued to search for her, but were unsuccessful.[6] Cole had been previously excluded as a possible identity of the victim by a medical examiner for unknown reasons.[9][10]

Some sources state that Cole may have spent time at a religious institution known as the New Bethany School for Girls, which was located in Arcadia, Louisiana.[11] Her sister noted that an image taken around the time of Cole's disappearance at the school depicted a group of girls sitting in pews, one of whom bore a strong resemblance to her sister.[12]

Investigators have followed such leads. A woman claimed to have spent time with a girl that bore likeness to Cole but was unable to recall her name.[7][13] Some also believe that the explanation for the names written on the victim's shoes as well as the style of clothing may have been due to a dress code set in place by the New Bethany School for Girls.[2][7]


On January 28, 1981, a teenage victim's body between ages fifteen and twenty-one was found concealed by trees in Bellevue, Bossier Parish, Louisiana.[3] She wore jeans, a white, long-sleeved shirt with pink, yellow and blue stripes, a beige sweater with a hood, shoes with the names "Michael Brisco", "David", "Resha", and "D. Davies", white socks with blue and yellow streaks, white boxer briefs, a white bra and a leather belt with a buckle reading "Buffalo Nickel", with a buffalo design.[4][8] None of the names on the clothing amounted to meaningful leads, although they were speculated to have belonged to companions of the Jane Doe.[14] The victim had also painted her fingernails prior to her murder.[7] The shoes were later determined to have been size seven.[8] A knife found in the soil near her remains is thought to have been the murder weapon, as the victim had been stabbed nine times.[4][15] Most of the evidence recovered from the scene was destroyed due to a fire in 2005 at the facility in which they were stored.[14]

Examination and investigation

The victim was believed to have been white with possible Native American ancestry and was murdered by sharp force trauma approximately four to seven weeks before her body was located. The remains were in an unrecognizable state of decomposition.[8][16] She was at a height of around five feet five to five feet six inches tall and weighed between 125 and 140 pounds, placing her at an average build.[4] The victim's hair color was determined to have been "blonde, straight and shoulder-length" and her eye color was unknown due to the state of her body.[4][16]

The girl had orthodontics at one time when alive and may have removed the brackets from her teeth herself or by someone not affiliated with an orthodontic company.[4][8] It was later confirmed that Cole had broken the braces from her teeth by herself before her disappearance.[8] Investigators had difficulties with establishing the identity of the victim, as there were no means of identification present at the scene and there were no known witnesses.[14]

Henry Lee Lucas confessed to her murder, which was not unusual, as he had stated he was responsible for the deaths of other unidentified victims, such as a female nicknamed as Orange Socks (identified in 2019 as Debra Jackson) and the Caledonia Jane Doe (identified a month prior to Cole as Tammy Jo Alexander). Lucas was not considered to be credible, as he was known to be in Florida when Cole was killed and has since been eliminated as a suspect for the murders of Alexander and Jackson.[2][17][18] Because of the decomposition of the body, the victim was reconstructed, at first with a three-dimensional clay model and later with a digital method by the Louisiana State University FACES Lab.[4] Once possible, DNA was eventually extracted from the victim's teeth that would be used to compare against missing persons.[2]

Identification and later developments

Cole's sister, Jeanie Phelps, filed a missing person's report for Carol, although she suspected foul play, after she was unable to locate her and the report was also entered in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, abbreviated as NAMUS. She and Cole's childhood friend had also used Facebook as well as Craigslist to garner awareness and information for the case.[7] The grandmother who was determined to find Cole had since died, but Phelps maintained a strong interest in finding her sister.[8]

Meanwhile, on February 6, 2015, the local sheriff department in Bossier Parish started a Facebook page in effort to identify the young woman, calling it "Bossier Doe".[8][19] Within days after the creation of the Facebook profile, over five hundred individuals had "friended" the "Bossier Doe" account. The number increased to well over one thousand after less than a week.[20]

On February 6, a 911 operator named Linda Erickson saw the Facebook page with Bossier Doe's image, then notified detectives when she came across a Craigslist ad with a photo of Carol Ann.[20][21][22] It was a Craigslist ad that Patty Thorington, a friend of Carol's sister, had placed in an effort to find any information on the missing girl's whereabouts. By February 13, Thorington said, someone at the Sheriff's Office emailed her regarding their Bossier Doe case.[23]

DNA tests were then conducted after officers turned to Cole's family, using the victim's profile against those of her parents.[7][24][25] After tests were completed, it was announced that Cole and "Bossier Doe" were indeed the same person. After this announcement, a GoFundMe account was created for the expenses of a new burial and headstone for the victim, as the family was struggling to pay the means to transport Cole's body and for a headstone.[9][26] Cole was later buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Comstock Township, Michigan on June 18, 2015 after a funeral service.[1][27][28]

Since Cole's identification, investigation is now aimed at locating the person responsible for her murder. Frances Aucoin, whose father, John Chesson, discovered Cole's remains along with her brother, told officers that she suspects he is responsible for the victim's death. Police confirm that Chesson is considered a person of interest in the case, especially because of his conviction for the murder of his estranged wife's mother, but he has yet to be considered the prime suspect.[5][29] Aucoin believes that Chesson had decided to go hunting for the first time with his children to establish his innocence by finding the victim's body and reporting it to the police. She went into further detail, describing her father as abusive and that she believes that a young woman he had brought into their home was Cole whom he had picked up as a hitchhiker. Aucoin's brother, a witness in finding the body, committed suicide in 2008.[30] Chesson is currently incarcerated for life for the murder of his estranged wife's mother, which occurred in 1997.[28][31]

See also


  1. "Bossier Doe laid to rest". Wood TV 8. LIN Television Corporation. WOOD Television, Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  2. Catalanello, Rebecca (February 9, 2015). "Detectives turn to New Bethany Home for Girls in search of leads in woman's 1981 death". The Times-Picayune. NOLA. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  3. "Case #84-04 06-17B". LSU FACES Lab. Louisiana State University. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  4. "Case File: 61UFLA". doenetwork.orgq. The Doe Network. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  5. Buchanan, Erin (April 14, 2015). "BPSO detectives asking for the public's help in tracking down Carol Ann Cole's killer". 3 KTBS News. WorldNow. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  6. Catalanello, Rebecca (March 27, 2015). "Homicide detectives refocus on the man who found body of 'Bossier Doe' 34 years ago". The Times-Picayune. NOLA. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  7. Catalanello, Rebecca (February 18, 2015). "Bossier Parish detectives order DNA test in cold case homicide of young woman". The Times-Picayune. NOLA. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  8. Catalanello, Rebecca (February 20, 2015). "A family's three-decade search for missing Michigan teen turns to Louisiana". The Times-Picayune. NOLA. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  9. May, Gerry (March 18, 2015). "Investigators had Bossier Doe's name when mystery began in 1981". 3 KTBS News. WorldNow. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  10. "Officials: The name Carol Ann Cole was excluded as Bossier Doe years ago". WorldNow. March 18, 2015. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  11. Mueller, Aaron (February 19, 2015). "Victim in Louisiana cold case homicide may be missing Kalamazoo woman; Family waiting on DNA test results". MLive. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  12. Catalanello, Rebecca (March 2, 2015). "Friendship propelled 3-decade search for missing teen Carol Ann Cole". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  13. "DNA matches 1981 Bossier Doe to missing Michigan teen Carol Ann Cole". 3 KTBS News. WorldNow. March 5, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  14. Buchanan, Erin (February 10, 2015). "BPSO turning to social media for leads in Jane Doe cold case". WorldNow. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  15. Kolker, Ken (April 24, 2015). "Missing for 34 years, but not a 'missing person'". WoodTV 8. WOOD Television LLC. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  16. "NamUs UP# 13283". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  17. Schechter, Harold (December 30, 2003). The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers. New York City, New York: Ballantine Books. p. 64. ISBN 0345465660.
  18. "Police ID 'Jane Doe' found in Livingston Co. cornfield in 1979". January 26, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  19. Catalanello, Rebecca (March 5, 2015). "'Bossier Doe' cold case murder victim identified as 17-year-old Carol Ann Cole". The Times-Picayune. Nola. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  20. Mueller, Aaron (March 6, 2015). "Louisiana police credit Facebook in helping ID victim in 1981 homicide as Carol Ann Cole, of Kalamazoo". MLive. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  21. "With "Bossier Doe" identified, investigators focus on finding killer". No. KSLA News 12. WorldNow. March 13, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  22. Mueller, Aaron (June 18, 2015). "Carol Ann Cole laid to rest after 34 years of mystery about her disappearance". MLive Media Group. Advance Digital. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  23. Catalanello, Rebecca (March 6, 2015). "'Bossier Doe' cold case murder victim identified as 17-year-old Carol Ann Cole". The Times-Picayune. NOLA. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  24. Washington, Troy (March 5, 2015). "Bossier Sheriff: Bossier Doe identified". KSLA News 12. WorldNow. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  25. "Possible break in the case of Bossier's Jane Doe". 3 KTBS News. WorldNow. February 17, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  26. Mueller, Aaron (April 3, 2015). "Family of Carol Ann Cole still looking for closure 34 years after her death". MLive. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  27. Mueller, Aaron (May 20, 2015). "34 years after her disappearance, Carol Ann Cole's memorial service scheduled". MLive. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  28. Schleisman, Nicolette (April 14, 2015). "Detectives need help finding Carol Ann Cole's killer". KSLA News. WorldNow. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  29. Donnelly, Francis X. (April 24, 2015). "Facebook post helps solve 34-year mystery". The Detroit News. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  30. Machi, Sara (March 27, 2015). "Louisiana woman says her father killed Bossier Doe Carol Ann Cole". KTBS 3. WorldNow. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  31. "State of Louisiana Versus. John R. Chesson" (PDF). Louisiana State Police. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
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