Dying woman found by Georgia road is identified 37 years later as Florida mom of four

Screengrab from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Facebook

A Florida mom was missing for decades before she was identified as a woman found dying along a Georgia road.

On May 14, 1985, an “injured and unconscious” woman was spotted along state Highway 91 in Baker County, north of Newton, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“The woman was taken to the hospital in Albany, GA, where she died from her injuries on Saturday, June 1, 1985,” officials wrote in a news release.

For decades, the woman’s identity remained a mystery. But after DNA helped to provide clues, she was identified in a Jan. 31 news release as Mary Anga Cowan, also known as Angie.

At the time of her death, Cowan was a 28-year-old mother of four. She was from the Orlando-area town of Apopka, Florida, and went missing from nearby Seminole County.

“There was never an official missing persons report filed at the time,” Marko Jones, assistant special agent in charge, told McClatchy News in an email. “The family attempted to do so, but since she was an adult, no report was taken. Please understand this was during the 1980s and procedures were different then.”

State officials said Cowan’s “manner of death was undetermined” and that her “cause of death was subdural hematoma secondary to blunt force trauma to the head.” A subdural hematoma, defined as bleeding near a person’s brain, “is most often the result of a severe head injury,” according to the National Library of Medicine.

Almost three decades after Cowan’s death, her body was exhumed in 2012. A piece of bone was analyzed, but that didn’t lead to answers in the case.

Then in 2022, officials said they partnered with the DNA company Othram to look into the woman’s family history and shared their findings with the FBI for “genealogical research.”

“The research yielded a high probability that the unidentified woman was Mary Anga Cowan, aka ‘Angie,’” Georgia investigators wrote. “Agents obtained DNA from one of Cowan’s children and the comparison indicated a parent/child relationship.”

Officials said local and federal agencies “were instrumental in identifying these remains and providing closure for the family.”

Newton, Georgia, is roughly 200 miles south of Atlanta.

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