FAIRFAX, Va. (DC News Now) — Detectives from the Fairfax cold case squad have finally solved a mystery that was 25 years in the making. A woman known only as “the Christmas tree lady” who took her own life 25 years ago in Fairfax has been successfully identified using new technology that was introduced in May of 2022.
Police have identified the woman as Joyce Meyer thanks to forensic technology provided by Othram inc. which was able to identify her family via her genome. Police were then able to confirm her identity by reaching out to long-lost siblings.
It was December 18, 1996, when her body was uncovered in Pleasant Valley Memorial Park at 8420 Little River Turnpike in Annandale, she was carrying two notes, one identifying her death as a suicide, and the other containing money for funeral costs. Investigators found no signs of foul play and ruled the death a suicide, however, the letters were signed by Jane Doe and no identification could be made for 25 years.
Meyer did not have family in the area, living relatives believe she moved to the Virginia area in the mid-80s but ultimately did not have personal connections capable of positively identifying her body at the time.
“After decades of wondering what happened to their loved one, Joyce’s family is finally at peace thanks to the dedicated work of several generations of FCPD detectives, anonymous donors and Othram. Our detectives never stopped working for Joyce and her family. Advances in technology will continue to help close cases and provide answers to victims’ families.” – Major Ed O’Carroll, Bureau Commander, Major Crimes, Cyber & Forensics.