“Identified: Linda Sue Karnes, Victim Whose Remains Found in 1980s, TBI Seeks Help to Solve the Case”

By | August 17, 2023



The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified the skeletal remains of a girl found in Cheatham County in the early 1980s. The girl has been identified as Linda Sue Karnes from Cleveland, Ohio. Investigators are seeking the public’s help in determining who killed her. The remains were discovered at the county’s old landfill and were estimated to belong to a white female between the ages of 14 and 17. Karnes was classified as a Jane Doe until her identification through DNA testing. TBI is urging anyone with information to come forward. Diana Leyva reported

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently announced the identification of a young girl whose skeletal remains were discovered in Cheatham County in the early 1980s. This breakthrough has prompted special agents to seek the public’s assistance in determining the person responsible for her death.

The girl has been identified as Linda Sue Karnes, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to her tragic demise, Karnes lived in Cunningham and spent time at the Montgomery County Girls Home in Clarksville.

On October 21, 1981, skeletal remains were found at the former county landfill on Highway 249 in Ashland City. Forensic anthropologists from the University of Tennessee determined that the remains belonged to a Caucasian female, estimated to be between 14 and 17 years old.

According to the UT Anthropology Department, Karnes had likely been deceased for three to nine months before her remains were discovered.

Due to the inability to ascertain her identity, investigators initially classified Karnes as a Jane Doe. However, in 2007, the UT Forensic Anthropology Center sent a sample of her remains to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. Through this process, a DNA profile was created and entered into the Combined DNA Index System and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, with the hope of identifying her.

In December, the TBI sent another sample of Karnes’ remains to Othram Inc., a private lab in Texas, for forensic genetic genealogical DNA testing. This testing provided valuable information about potential relatives connected to Karnes. Leveraging this information, a TBI intelligence analyst was able to locate possible family members in Middle Tennessee and Florida.

Upon contacting these family members, it was confirmed that they had not heard from a relative in over forty years, aligning with the timeframe of Karnes’ disappearance. Using Forensic Genetic Genealogy, TBI agents obtained a DNA standard from the family members for comparison with Karnes’ DNA.

TBI is now urging anyone with information relating to this case to contact them at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Please note that this is an ongoing investigation, and further updates will be provided as additional information becomes available. Diana Leyva, a reporter for The Tennessean, covers breaking and trending news. She can be reached via email at Dleyva@gannett.com or followed on Twitter at @_leyvadiana..