“Businesswoman from Tennessee identified as ‘Nation River Lady’ 47 years after death”

By | July 8, 2023



Human remains found in a river in Canada in 1975 have finally been identified as those of Jewell ‘Lalla’ Langford, a businesswoman from Tennessee. The remains, known as the “Nation River Lady,” were discovered near Highway 417 in Ontario. After decades of investigation, a DNA profile was established in 2019 and submitted to a lab in the United States for genome sequencing. Samples were then matched to two family members, leading to the identification of Langford.

Langford, who was 48 at the time of her death, was strangled with a plastic-covered television cable. Her hands and ankles were bound with neckties, and her face was wrapped in a towel. The DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization specializing in genetic genealogy, assisted the police in solving the case.

Langford had been a business owner in Jackson, Tennessee, where she co-owned a spa with her ex-husband. In April 1975, she traveled to Montréal and never returned home. Her family reported her missing, but for 47 years, they had no knowledge of her whereabouts or what had happened to her.

In March 2022, Langford’s remains were returned to the United States for a memorial and burial. The identification was a significant achievement in forensic genealogy, as it is believed to be the first case of its kind in Canada.

Last year, Rodney Nichols, 81, was charged with Langford’s murder. The relationship between the two individuals was not clarified by investigators, but they were known to each other.

The identification of Jewell Langford after almost five decades brings closure to her family and demonstrates the power of advancements in science and technology. It also highlights the dedication of investigating organizations in their pursuit of truth, even after the passage of time. The case serves as a reminder that justice can prevail, no matter how long it takes..