DAVIE, FL. (WSVN) – Davie police have put a pause on a cold case after a woman was identified decades after her body was found in a South Florida canal. Now the victim’s daughter is finally getting answers.
On Tuesday, the victim’s daughter flew from Massachusetts to see her mother’s remains.
The case began on February 18, 1984, after a blonde woman was found face down in a canal in Davie. The body was approximately 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds.
“Davie Police discovered the body of a white female floating in the canal near the 2600 block of 130th Avenue, our district in West Davie,” said Davie Police Sgt. Kevin Urbaez.
The victim remained unidentified for 40 years until Davie police investigators reopened the cold case.
“Investigators utilized multiple resources to assist with forensic digital imaging, DNA extraction and identification of a potential family tree,” Urbaez said. “Using all of these resources, investigators were able to locate the victim’s daughter.”
Using DNA from bone fragments, investigators were able to find a match to Maehgan Smith, who lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
“I was so overwhelmed because I had come to terms with it that I thought I would probably never know what happened to her,” Smith said.
Smith was a young child when her mother, Lori Jane Kearsey, went missing. At this point her parents were divorced.
“She dropped me off over the weekend and just didn’t come back,” Smith said. “I’m like, ‘What was she doing down here?’ like she didn’t feel like calling anyone and I just can’t even imagine what that feeling was like for her and it’s heartbreaking.”
Kearsey was 23 and had remarried.
“She remarried into a pretty notorious crime family in Boston,” Smith said.
It’s unclear what she did in Davie, but she was strangled. Now, after 40 years, her daughter will finally lay her to rest.
“And I think the feeling of picking up her remains and thinking that I probably haven’t touched a part of her in 41 years is just a little surreal,” Smith said.
Police are still searching for clues to find Kearsey’s killer.
“And that is our goal in this case, to bring about further closure, but also to bring to justice those who were involved in this criminal case,” Urbaez said.
Davie police said they are following up on some leads but still need help.
If you have any information about this crime, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can remain anonymous at any time and may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.