cold case

DNA IDs Boston Woman Found Dead in NH Woods in 1971; Police Searching for Her Killer

The New Hampshire Cold Case unit is asking for help finding Alston's killer, and shared that, at the time she was killed, she was living with a roommate named David Cormier, whose age is unknown, on Beacon Street across from Boston Common

Images and facial reconstructions of Katherine "Kathy" Alston, a woman who was found slain in Bedford, New Hampshire, in 1971 and recently identified through DNA.
Handout

A woman whose body was found in the New Hampshire woods more than 50 years ago has now been identified as a 26-year-old who attended Boston University, and authorities are asking people who may have known her for help finding her killer.

Katherine Ann Alston, who also went by Kathy, was 26 when she went missing in 1971, never arriving at Logan airport for a flight to Texas with her family, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, New Hampshire State Police and Bedford, New Hampshire, police.

Her body was found Oct. 6, 1971, at the end of Kilton Road in Bedford, a Manchester suburb, near a highway bypass; she'd been dead for at least one month, and authorities knew she was killed, but her identity wasn't figured out for decades.

Over the years, state police released facial reconstructions of the woman based on her body — they also knew her approximate height and age, her hair color and the clothes she was wearing — but it was her DNA that eventually helped reveal who she was.

State police and the DNA Doe Project matched her DNA to her family through a consumer DNA test that someone in her family in Texas had submitted, and investigators confirmed the match. Alston's siblings told them they hadn't spoken with her after their move to Texas, which she hadn't turned up for at Logan airport, authorities said Monday.

Now, the New Hampshire Cold Case unit is asking for help finding Alston's killer, and shared that, at the time she was killed, she was living with a roommate named David Cormier, whose age is unknown, on Beacon Street across from Boston Common.

Anyone with information about her or Cormier — likely in Boston, Dorchester or Somerville — is asked to contact authorities by calling 603-271-2663, emailing coldcaseunit@dos.nh.gov or submitting a tip to doj.nh.doj/criminal/cold-case.

Alston, who is from Chelsea and graduated Dorchester High School, also attended classes at Boston University, authorities said, asking for anyone who may remember her there between 1963 and 1967 to reach out as well.

Alston was married at 22 to a fellow student, Ralph Lawson Garrett Jr., but later divorced. Garrett is dead, and authorities said there was no evidence suggesting it wasn't amicable.

"Today's announcement by our Cold Case Unit is very important and I am proud of their difficult and very diligent work. It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice for Ms. Alston, her family, and for all New Hampshire crime victims," New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. "We are determined to stay on this case and will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to follow any leads that may help us determine who might be responsible for Ms. Alston’s death."

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