Fairfax, VA

Teen Jane Doe Identified as Patricia Agnes Gildawie, Missing for 47 years

A.W. Naves

Patricia Agnes Gildawie(Photo: Fairfax County Police Department)

Seventeen-year-old Patricia Agnes Gildawie vanished in Fairfax, Virginia, on February 8, 1975. For nearly five decades, her whereabouts remained unknown and the investigation into her disappearance grew cold. Now, previously unidentified skeletal remains have been confirmed as belonging to the missing teen using the latest technologies in DNA.

The remains were found by a construction crew while they were working in the 5100 block of Lincoln Circle near the drainage ditch running behind an apartment complex in McLean on September 21, 2001. The only other items recovered from the scene were some pieces of clothing. Now, further testing of the DNA evidence has confirmed that the skeleton is that of Gildawie.

After the discovery of the remains more than two decades ago, a medical examiner determined that the victim had died from a gunshot wound to the head. It was concluded that the Jane Doe was probably a female African American in her late teens or early twenties.

This year, the remains were sent to Othram, a laboratory that performs DNA testing and forensic genome sequencing. Their tests revealed that the remains were instead those of a Caucasian female. Their database then matched the victim’s DNA to that of Veronique Duperly, a half-sister of the victim who had previously submitted her DNA to Ancestry.com. Duperly was notified last month about the match.

Anonymous donors to the group DNASolves provided the funding for the DNA tests and the identification process, which included another DNA test on Veronique Duperly, who says the DNA test came back within 15 minutes as a match between her and her half-sister.

Gildawie was French by birth, brought to the U.S. by her family when she was only eight months old. She moved to Fairfax in the 1970s.

According to Duperly, Gildawie had been dating someone older at the time of her disappearance. She said that the last time she saw her half-sister, the teenager was driving a white Cadillac Eldorado with a red interior her suitor had loaned to her. Duperly said she had noticed bruises on the girl’s upper arms, shoulders, and the backs of her legs. Duperly had asked why she was “black and blue” and been told, “I fall a lot.” Duperly says she replied, “No, you don’t.”

The name of the man Gildawie was seeing is unknown. Police know that he was in his thirties at the time Gildawie went missing and that he worked at an upholstery store near Church Street and Lawyer’s Road in Vienna, Virginia. The store is no longer in business.

Ed O’Carroll, Bureau Commander of Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics with the Fairfax County Police Department said that his team is working “fast and furious” on the case. He said they know the killer is still out there. He pointed out that making progress on a cold case of this age just goes to show that the community can take “comfort in knowing that our detectives never stop working these cases. Advancements in technology have given my cold case detectives an opportunity to pursue fresh leads and bring some relief to families that have been long-suffering with the unknown.”

Though no information has been released as to what progress has been made since the discovery of this victim’s identity, police are continuing to investigate. Now that they have fresh leads on the case, hopefully, the identity of Gildawie’s killer can be determined soon and an arrest can be made.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the Fairfax Police Department. You can send an anonymous tip in one of the following ways:

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