Woman who drowned in Texas in 1966 identified as Kansan

PECOS, Texas. (AP) — Police in western Texas have identified a girl who drowned in a hotel pool in 1966 as a 17-year-old native of Kansas.

Jolaine Hemmy, of Salina, Kansas, drowned on July 5, 1966 at the Ropers Motel in Pecos, police said Tuesday.

She was staying with a man at the hotel when her body was found. The man, who police did not identify, was in the couple's room when she drowned but left while emergency responders were trying to revive her, Pecos police said.

Police reopened the cold case last year and her body was exhumed in August 2019, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Pecos is about 400 miles west of Fort Worth.

The coronavirus pandemic slowed work on the case but Hemmy was eventually identified through DNA, Pecos Police Chief Lisa Tarango said.

Police recently traveled to Kansas to inform Hemmy's family of the identification, Tarango said.

The teen’s death remains under investigation.

Pecos police worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification to verify Hemmy’s identification.