Authorities continue search for missing woman after 40 years
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The case of a missing Missouri woman hasn’t been solved in more than four decades, but her family recently regained hope after authorities discovered a possible link with an unidentified body in a nearby cemetery.
A body buried in a cemetery in Fairview Heights, Illinois, known only as Jane Doe, has similar features to Geneva Adams and was found near where the Festus woman went missing weeks earlier, according to records. But authorities didn’t make the connection between Adams’ disappearance and the unidentified body until 2014, when an Illinois State Police sergeant started working to identify remains in cold cases.
Authorities decided last month to exhume the body, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. But Herculaneum Police Chief Mark Tulgetske said they were unable to find the remains, discovering the cemetery records were wrong.
“There is no doubt that the body that we’re looking for is in that cemetery somewhere,” Tulgetske said. Authorities don’t plan to dig again until they’re sure they know where the body is buried.
Steve Crump, Adams’ son, said he doesn’t understand why it took more than 35 years to make the connection.
“I am grateful that they’re still trying to find her,” Crump said. “I just hope they stay on it.”
Adams, a mother of 10, went missing in 1976 after a night out at a Herculaneum roadhouse. She had told her daughter she was meeting a man later identified as Jimmie Lee Mills, who quickly became a person of interest in the disappearance.
Mills had served less than a year in prison for attempting to rape a 20-year-old woman, and he was charged in the rape of a 16-year-old hitchhiker weeks before Adams went missing.
Since Adams’ body was never found, Mills was never charged. Mills, now 76, has been in prison since 2010 for a weapons conviction. He’s scheduled for release in August.
He declined the newspaper’s request for comment.
“He is getting to the end of his life,” Crump said. “So I keep thinking, ‘Just tell us: What really happened?’”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com