DNA evidence shows wrong body buried; prompts more questions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

DNA evidence shows wrong body buried; prompts more questions

A Memphis family is upset about a missing woman, and a grave with the wrong body in it.

Relatives of Rochelle Thomas say she died suddenly in 2004.  Four years later, they found out that the person they buried was not their daughter.

The ordeal has been a nightmare for the Thomas family, who said Tuesday they were looking for an attorney to help them sort through the tragedy.

Family members say police told them that Rochelle Thomas died in a car wreck back in 2004.  Thomas' mom, Willie Mae Galmore, said when she asked to go to the morgue to identify the body, police told her no.
"They told me not to come, they said for that reason there is nothing to identify, because she don't have a face on her," Galmore said.

Thomas' sister, Linda Jones, said the family was suspicious from the start. Jones said she began looking at pictures from the accident and autopsy pictures, noticing the height and weight and other descriptions did not match. 

Jones said final conformation came last year when the body was dug up, and a DNA test determined the grave family members had been visiting for years did not contain Rochelle Thomas.

"The conclusion they came up with was - not just it wasn't my mother's daughter - that we had buried a man," Jones said.

DNA tests revealed the body in the grave contained more male chromosomes than female chromosomes, leaving the Thomas family confused.  If Rochelle is not in that cemetery grave, they said, where is she?

"I feel that she is alive, and like I said - if she is not alive, and she is dead, she was murdered," Jones said. "I will have to deal with the fact then that she won't be here with us anymore."

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