Victim in 25-year-old murder case ID’d

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Brenda Clark, pictured here in a photograph released by the TBI.

Authorities said Thursday they had finally identified a woman whose body was found more than 25 years ago in Grainger County.

The victim, 38-year-old Brenda Clark, was reportedly last seen alive by her family in 1996, and authorities believe she was the victim of a homicide.

The break in the case has reinvigorated a murder investigation that grew cold decades ago. Now, agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) are asking for the public’s help in determining what may have happened to Clark during former President Bill Clinton’s first term in office. 

TBI agents were called to assist the Grainger County Sheriff’s Office in September 1996.  Hunters had found the skeletal remains of a person just off Dale Road in a rural section of the county, and agents ruled the case a homicide based on evidence found at the scene, according to a TBI press release.

“With assistance from the University of Tennessee Anthropology Department, the remains were determined to be those of a female who was believed to be 30-40 years old. However, investigators could not determine the individual’s identity, and she was listed as a Jane Doe,” the statement said.

In 2018, a sample of the victim’s remains were submitted to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI). A DNA profile was developed for the victim, and a search through a DNA database turned up a possible match the following year. 

“The match returned to a woman living and residing in Knoxville. After making contact with the woman, agents learned she had a missing twin sister. To determine if the Grainger County Jane Doe was the missing sister of the Knoxville woman, additional DNA samples were collected from her and another family member and submitted to UNTCHI for further analysis,” the statement said.

Last week, the TBI received confirmation that the DNA belonged to Brenda Clark, who went missing in 1996.

“TBI special agents hope the public can help provide information that may help them determine what happened to Brenda Clark and who is responsible for her death. If you have information, specifically any knowledge about individuals Ms. Clark may have been with before her death, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND,” said the release.

Published on August 12, 2022.