Body of ‘Trunk Lady’ found in Florida field identified after 53 years


Body of ‘Trunk Lady’ found in Florida field identified after 53 years

It was an unsolved mystery that had plagued the detectives in Florida for over half a century. In 1969, the body of a young woman was found stuffed inside a steamer trunk that was left abandoned in a field. The police department launched an intensive investigation to identify her, but it proved to be fruitless for over 53 years. However, advanced forensic technology has finally provided the lead that detectives have been searching for, ultimately leading to the identification of the body of the ‘Trunk Lady’.

A trunk discovered with a decomposing body

On July 18, 1969, a truck driver discovered an abandoned object in a field on the outskirts of the small town of Northwest Miami-Dade County. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that it was a steamer trunk bound with a thick rope. When the truck driver cut the rope to open the trunk, he made a gruesome discovery – the fully-clothed decomposing body of a young woman who had been stuffed inside the trunk.

The cause of the woman’s death was determined to be suffocation. The investigators noticed that the trunk had small holes on the side, indicating that the woman had gasped for air before drawing her last breath. The woman’s exact age and whereabouts were unknown.

The quest to find the identity of the ‘Trunk Lady’

The investigators on the case started their search for the identity of the woman, scouring through missing persons databases and seeking out possible leads, but it all proved to be futile. One of the detectives who worked on the case recalled the moment in 1998 when the Florida department of law enforcement made use of forensic art to reconstruct the woman’s face. However, even though the image was shared throughout the media, nobody came forward claiming to know the woman.

The new breakthrough in discovering her identity

It wasn’t until 2021, over 53 years later, that the detectives on the case got a new lead. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s recently introduced genetic genealogy to their investigative methods, leading to a new lead on the identity of the ‘Trunk Lady’.

Genetic genealogy helped lead investigators to the woman’s family members. Natalie Shaffer, a forensic genealogist, managed to extract a DNA sample from the woman’s remains and used it to create a family tree. After looking through the family tree and identifying potential descendants of the woman, Shaffer and the detectives were able to match DNA samples from a woman in New Hampshire who was related to the ‘Trunk Lady’.

The ‘Trunk Lady’ identified as 23-year-old Mary Ann M. Pryor

Thanks to the new breakthrough, the woman was finally identified as Mary Ann M. Pryor, who was only 23 years old at the time of her death in 1969. Pryor had grown up in New Hampshire and then moved to Florida, where she had been living for two years before she died.

The detectives on the case were shocked to learn that pry had been married to a man known only as ‘Johnnie’, and their marriage certificate from July of 1969 was found in a car with Johnnie’s bloodstains. However, nothing since had been found on Johnnie or his whereabouts.

The unknown motives for Mary Ann’s death

The discovery of Mary Ann’s identity has opened up a new line of inquiry into her death, and police are striving to history from that time and identify possible suspects. Even in a case as old as this one, investigators are still committed to finding justice. The detectives are working tirelessly to identify the unknown person who strangled Mary Ann and left her in the steamer trunk in 1969.

The close of a long and dark chapter

The identification of the ‘Trunk Lady’ was an unanticipated development in a long and difficult case. For many years, detectives have worked tirelessly to identify the woman, but it seemed as if all their efforts would be in vain. However, the recent breakthrough with forensic genealogy has finally offered the closure to many people who have lived with an unresolved mystery for years.

It is vital for all unsolved cases to have closure of some kind. By identifying Mary Ann M. Pryor through advanced forensic technology, loved ones, friends, and authorities can now begin to close a chapter in Florida’s history that has gone unsolved for over 50 years. Hopefully, the discovery of her identity and the ongoing investigation into the cause of her death will help bring some level of peace to those who have been touched by this haunting mystery over the years.


The identification of the body of the ‘Trunk Lady’ is an incredible testament to the capabilities of modern forensics and genealogy. It is also a sobering reminder of the many missing persons’ cases that are still unresolved to this day. Mary Ann M. Pryor’s case is a dark chapter in Florida’s history, and the search for closure for her and her family has lasted many decades. Finally, the case can move forward, and law enforcement can get one step closer to finding justice for Mary Ann and her family.

Avi Adkins

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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