Human remains found in Georgia swamp in 1988 determined to be Norfolk woman last seen in 1986

Posted at 4:06 PM, Jan 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-17 06:01:02-05

Lexington, Ga. - Human skeletal remains found in Oglethorpe County, Georgia in 1988 have been identified as Bonnie Marie Houston, a woman from Norfolk who reportedly hadn't been seen since 1986.

The skeletal remains were found on March 20, 1988 by a couple who had stopped along a road in Oglethorpe County to watch a beaver in a nearby swamp.

Bonnie Houston

The remains were in a large, dark-blue canvas gym bag. The wrists were bound with nylon cord.

No cause of death was established at the time.

Since then, the case has been worked on by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Oglethorpe County Sheriff's Office.

According to Norfolk Police, in February of 2013, a family member of Bonnie Houston asked to speak to investigators about a missing family member. It is still unknown why she had not been reported missing prior to 2013.

The investigators took DNA samples from family members and entered them into the FBI's missing persons database. After reviewing the database, the FBI found a positive hit on the DNA of the skeletal remains found in 1988. The FBI then contacted the Norfolk Police about the match.

GBI Artist reconstruction from skeletal remains

In July of 2014, the Norfolk Police Department contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Athens and the Crime Lab there reviewed the FBI DNA information for Houston.

It was then determined that the remains belonged to Houston.

Further investigation suggests that Houston was murdered in Norfolk in 1986 and her remains were transported to Georgia where they were hidden in the swamp area.

Authorities in Virginia and Georgia continue to investigate.


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