Friday, September 19, 2008

ARTICLE #100) FOSTER CASE POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH-Parents of missing woman to give DNA samples

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
FOSTER CASE POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH-Parents of missing woman to give DNA samples: Remains of Jane Doe found in Texas to be compared with 23-year-old from Kamloops who disappeared in Las Vegas in 2006
Special to The Globe and Mail by Cathryn Atkinson

The parents of Jessie Foster, a Kamloops woman who disappeared in Las Vegas in 2006, have been asked to provide DNA samples to test against the remains of an unidentified woman found in Texas nearly 15 months ago.

Ms. Foster's mother, Glendene Grant, said two people who were aware of her daughter's disappearance contacted her after the Texas "Jane Doe" case was featured on the television show America's Most Wanted on Jan. 12.

The burned remains of the woman, a blonde like Ms. Foster, were found in the town of Kilgore, 160 kilometres east of Dallas, on Oct. 29, 2006. Careful forensic reconstruction of the victim allowed the case to appear on the crime-solving program.

Ms. Grant called Kamloops RCMP, who sent a constable to go over the forensic information provided by the program. He concluded there was a possibility of a match worth looking into. Ms. Grant contacted the North Las Vegas police department, which is leading the investigation into Ms. Foster's disappearance, and the department requested the test.

"I don't care how far-fetched the lead might be. I sent it to the police and let them determine what to do with it, and they told us we had to do a DNA test.

We'll get that done and go from there," she said.

Ms. Grant said she and her former husband, Dwight Foster, Ms. Foster's father who lives in Calgary, are awaiting buccal swab DNA test kits to arrive from the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas in Fort Worth.

The tests will be administered by Kamloops and Calgary RCMP and returned to the university. A result is expected to take several weeks. "This person has beautiful teeth, like Jessie, and the height and the weight are very close, but I really thought it stopped there," Ms. Grant said. "They have this girl's DNA on record so all they have to do is get to our DNA and compare them."

Ms. Foster's parents reported her missing to police in Las Vegas, where she had been living, shortly after she stopped contacting them in March, 2006. The family hired a private detective who, after a short search, gave them the devastating news that their daughter - who would be 23 now if still alive - had been leading a double life by prostituting herself through a Las Vegas escort service.

The family are offering a $50,000 reward for information on Ms. Foster's disappearance. The case is also the subject of a state-wide investigation in human trafficking in Nevada.

Ms. Grant said she will be relieved to have family DNA on record in the United States after first offering to provide a sample shortly after her daughter disappeared.

"I'm happy any time we get anything that gets [the police and U.S. media] thinking about Jessie's case again," she said.

"I've said that I believe that she is alive, but there is a small chance that she is not. This far into it there won't be a whole lot we can go on besides DNA. It will be the only thing that can prove it to me."

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