'It's still hard to hear,' brother learns skeletal remains belong to sister missing since 2007
By CBS 6
DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. – The Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office has released new evidence and photos which identify the remains of a woman found in 2007.
"All these years I'm hoping that I'm gonna see her one day and now I know, that won't happen," said James Daniel, who recently learned the skeletal remains were those of his sister, Shirletha Ann Daniel.
Shirletha was living between Richmond and Petersburg back in 2007, investigators said, usually in homeless shelters.
On Nov. 16, a call came into the Sheriff's Office that a human skull had been found by a dog.
The next day, cadaver dogs went into the wood line off Tranquility Lane.
"And were able to locate some additional human remains, along with some clothing and a watch," said Major William Knott.
The watch provided the best clue for the timeline as to when things happened because it still worked. It showed the exact time, but one hour ahead, with Daylight Saving Time in progress.
For seven years, investigators never knew the identity of the woman, until recently when a DNA database made a match.
Now they know the remains are those of Shirletha, who was 49 at the time of her disappearance.
"I never did call and report her missing, I was thinking she just gonna come when she get ready," Daniel said.
The investigation revealed that she got a new driver's license on Jan. 5, 2007. And they knew DST began March 11, 2007.
Therefore, officials said, whatever happened took place shortly afterward.
"My assumption of it, somebody did something to her and put her in the woods," Daniel said.
While investigators don't know for certain what happened, the area is well off the beaten path and more than 100 yards into the woods from the dirt road.
"At this point, the Medical Examiner Office is describing her manner of death as unknown, undetermined at this point," said Major Knott, who added that anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at (804) 861-1212.
Daniel said it's still hard to learn about his sister, even after all these years. He and two cousins are trying to raise the money needed to have his sister's remains cremated.