Desoto County News

“Cold case” victim identified through DNA analysis

Photo: Lori Ann Mealer Pennell (Courtesy photo)

A 1985 DeSoto County “cold case” has provided more information leading to the identification of the victim found dead in Olive Branch nearly 40 years ago.

Advanced DNA analysis was used to identify the woman as Lori Ann Mealer Pennell, whose body was found on U.S. Highway 78 in Olive Branch in January of 1985, a victim of strangulation.

A crime scene technician has been working on the case over the years and got a lead on an identification on Friday, March 1. That’s when Othram Labs, based in The Woodlands, Texas, was able to use DNA analysis to positively identify Pennell as the victim.

Officials say Pennell has a brother who lives in California and he has been informed of the discovery.

The investigation is continuing into the case.