HAZLE TWP. — A woman found dead in the woods and buried in an unmarked grave 48 years ago has a name again.
Lucille Marie Frye was identified through DNA tests, authorities said today when solving a missing person’s case that gnawed at her family since she disappeared from Wilkes-Barre. Nicknamed “Peanie,” she was 33 and had a son and daughter.
His sister, Barbara Johnson, continued checking with the Wilkes-Barre police for leads in the case until she died in 1999.
After that, her son, Mitchell Johnson, kept pondering the mystery about his aunt.
While the Wilkes-Barre police had an open case on Frye, state police never could identify a woman found in the woods in Rice Twp. on Sept. 28, 1970, although they considered her death suspicious.
In September 2016 when authorities exhumed her body and two other unidentified people to reconsider their cases with modern forensic techniques, Mitchell Johnson went to Maple Hill Cemetery in Hanover Twp. to talk with police.
He sensed that one of the women being uncovered was his aunt.
DNA samples that he, his sister and his cousin, who is Frye’s daughter, submitted proved inconclusive because of the remains had deteriorated.
When his uncle, the only survivor of Frye’s seven siblings, gave a DNA sample, the results matched when compared at the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas.
“This is a happy day for me and my family,” Johnson said when joining law enforcers for a news conference at the state police barracks. “My aunt was a Jane Doe for 48 years. Now she has a headstone.”
Lucille Marie Frye will be reburied with her family on May 30 at Maple Hill Cemetery.
Police are continuing to investigate how she died.
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