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Authorities Identify Cold Case Murder Victim Found in 1971. The Search Is On for Her Killer.

Katherine Ann "Kathy" Alston went missing in 1971 and was found dead later that year, say authorities. [Image via New Hampshire Department of Justice]

Katherine Ann “Kathy” Alston went missing in 1971 and was found dead later that year, say authorities. [Image via New Hampshire Department of Justice]

After more than 50 years, investigators have identified a woman found dead in a New Hampshire wooded area. Her name was Katherine Ann Alston, 26, according to the New Hampshire Department of Justice. Family and friends called her Kathy, but authorities said that records indicate she was never reported missing. Now investigators want to determine who killed her.

Alston was found on Oct. 6, 1971 in Bedford, New Hampshire, authorities said. It was at the end of Kilton Raod near the Route 101 by-pass. Investigators determined she had been dead for one to three months. They did not know who she was. They figured she was a woman age 25 to 35, between 61 and 65 inches tall, and had brown hair.

“She was found wearing a maroon, pullover blouse with lace at the neck, short hip-hugger dungaree-type shorts, size 7 sandals, and no identification,” authorities said. “The cause of death has not been determined but the manner of her death was homicide. For approximately 50 years, her identity remained unknown.”

Investigators finally determined it was Alston. According to the NH DOJ, state cops worked with the DNA Doe Project between 2020 and 2022 to use genetic genealogy to try to link the body to a family member. They finally managed to do so because a Texas-based member of her family did a direct-to-consumer DNA test. Investigators contacted Alston’s family and confirmed the match, they said.

Alston was a Massachusetts native, born in the city of Chelsea in 1945. She graduated from Dorchester High School in 1963 and went to Boston University for college. She married fellow student Ralph Lawson Garrett Jr. in 1967. They divorced, but investigators said, “there is no evidence to suggest the divorce was not amicable.” Garrett has since died.

Alston was 26 when she went missing from Boston, Massachusetts in 1971. Authorities said her parents and siblings moved to Texas, where her father’s family was from, that same year. Alston was supposed to meet them at Logan Airport for their flight, but she did not show up, her siblings said, according to the NH DOJ news release. The siblings said that they never saw or spoke with her after they moved to Texas.

Investigators did not identify her roommate as a suspect but identified him as David Cormier.

“Based on this identification, the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit is now looking for the public’s assistance in identifying the person who murdered Ms. Alston. No records show that anyone ever reported Ms. Alston as missing,” authorities said. “At the time of her murder, Ms. Alston was already divorced from Mr. Garrett. Mr. Garrett is currently deceased, and there is no evidence to suggest the divorce was not amicable. At the time of her murder, Ms. Alston was reportedly living at 36 Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts, with a roommate named David Cormier (age unknown).”

Authorities are looking for information from anyone who knew her or was associated with her.

“Investigators are seeking information from anyone who knew Ms. Alston or persons associated with her, including her former roommate, David Cormier,” they wrote.

Those more likely to have known either of them were people who lived in Boston, Dorchester, and Sommerville between 1963 and the fall of 1971. Authorities suggest students who went to Boston University between 1963 and 1967 may also remember Alston.

From authorities:

Anyone with this information, or any other information on Ms. Alston’s murder, is requested to contact investigators at the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit by phone (603-271-2663), email: [email protected], or the online tip form at www.doj.nh.doj/criminal/cold-case.

“Today’s announcement by our Cold Case Unit is very important and I am proud of their difficult and very diligent work. It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice for Ms. Alston, her family, and for all New Hampshire crime victims,” said NH Attorney General John M. Formella. “We are determined to stay on this case and will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to follow any leads that may help us determine who might be responsible for Ms. Alston’s death.”

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

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