“Victim’s Remains Found in Canadian River Identified as Tennessee Businesswoman”

By | July 8, 2023



Human remains found in a river in Canada in 1975 have finally been identified as belonging to Jewell “Lalla” Langford, a businesswoman from Tennessee. The remains were discovered in the Nation River by a bridge near Highway 417 in Casselman, Ontario. Langford, who became known as the “Nation River Lady,” had been missing since April 1975 when she traveled to Montréal and never returned home.

After 47 years of uncertainty, a DNA profile of the remains was established in 2019 and submitted to a specialized lab in the United States. Through genome sequencing and matching samples to two family members, Langford was identified as the owner of the remains in 2020. This identification marked the first case in Canada to be resolved using forensic genealogy.

In March 2022, Langford’s remains were sent to the U.S. for a memorial and burial. The DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying unidentified bodies through genetic genealogy, assisted the police in Langford’s case. They revealed that she had been strangled to death with a flat plastic-covered television cable, with her hands and ankles bound with neckties, and her face wrapped in a towel.

Rodney Nichols, an 81-year-old individual who had a known connection to Langford, was charged with her murder last year. However, the details of their relationship have not been disclosed by investigators.

The identification of Langford’s remains brings closure to her family after decades of uncertainty. The collaborative efforts of scientific advancements, forensic genealogy, and dedicated investigators have allowed the truth to be uncovered and justice to be pursued. Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario, emphasized the importance of this work in finding the truth for families like Langford’s and never giving up, regardless of the passage of time..