Lena Mae Howard was 32 years old when she was murdered. Her body was found under a bridge in Tarrant County, Texas, more than 20 years ago, and the person responsible for her death has yet to be brought to justice.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Lena, of Fort Worth, had two daughters who were left in the care of her mother, Kanzetta Howard, while she “drifted among friends and worked temporary jobs.”
Although she didn’t visit her family often, Kanzetta stated that Lena would incessantly call her relatives, but in late June 1998, those calls stopped.
Fearing the worst, Kanzetta contacted the Mansfield Police Department every week for several months, but she did not file a missing persons report.
Each time she’d call, she would refer to her daughter by name, not realizing her daughter could be a Jane Doe.
Her niece suggested she inquire about any unidentified bodies, and she obliged. That’s when she was informed by a medical examiner that police officials had found the naked body of a female beneath a bridge on Aug. 22, 1998.
She was also apprised that the decedent had decomposed, and because of that, they were unable to make a positive identification.
Kanzetta provided dental records, which determined the remains found beneath a Mansfield bridge were those of Lena Howard, who was a member of the Greater Mount Moriah Baptist Church and a cook at Good Luck Drive Inn.
An autopsy report indicated that Lena was a victim of homicide, as her cause of death was blunt force trauma, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported.
The medical examiner specified that the body may have been under the bridge since June.
Investigators met with the victim’s family in an attempt to uncover clues that would help them find out what happened to Lena, but their efforts were unsuccessful, said Mansfield Police Detective David Walley in a 1998 conference.
Law enforcement officers worked diligently to find Lena’s killer, but ultimately, her case turned cold.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Lena Howard is encouraged to contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online via the Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website.