Concord, NH — Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald, Manchester Police Chief Carlo T. Capano, and the Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations David Rausch, announce that the remains of Elizabeth “Liz” Lamotte have been identified. Ms. Lamotte was last seen at age 17 when she went missing from Manchester on November 22, 1984. Ms. Lamotte had been placed at the Youth Development Center (YDC). On November 22, 1984, she left the facility on a furlough to Gill Stadium and never returned. On her 18th birthday, July 27, 1985, her case was discharged from YDC, but at the time she had still not returned to the facility.
Ms. Lamotte was not reported as a missing person to the Manchester Police Department until 2017. This report was initiated after a tip was received in response to the January, 2017, Attorney General’s press conference with the NH State Police Cold Case Unit and the Manchester Police Department regarding the Allenstown Unidentified Persons’ case. During that press conference information was released regarding the suspect in the murders, Bob Evans, and his wife, known as Elizabeth Evans, who were living in Manchester in the early 1980s. Assistance was requested from the public to help identify Elizabeth Evans. One of the tips received by the New Hampshire State Police Cold Case Unit was that an Elizabeth Lamotte had been missing from Manchester in this time frame. This tip was passed on to the Manchester Police Department. The tipster informed Detective Lucas Hobbs of the Manchester Police Department that Ms. Lamotte had escaped from YDC and had not been heard from since her escape. The tipster believed that Ms. Lamotte could be the Elizabeth Evans the police were attempting to identify.
The Manchester Police Department then spoke with YDC personnel, and family members and friends of Ms. Lamotte who all confirmed that Elizabeth Lamotte had been missing since her furlough from YDC on November 22, 1984. The Manchester Police Department then entered Ms. Lamotte’s information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing person. At the time of her disappearance, Ms. Lamotte was 17 years old, and was described as being 5’5”, 110-125 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. 2
As part of this missing person investigation, two of Ms. Lamotte’s brothers provided DNA samples that were submitted to NamUs. NamUs is a national information clearinghouse and resource center for missing, unidentified, and unclaimed person cases across the United States. It is funded and administered by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a cooperative agreement with the University of North Texas (UNT) Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. All NamUs resources are provided at no cost to law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, allied forensic professionals, and family members of missing persons.
On November 13, 2018, the UNT Center for Human Identification notified the Manchester Police Department that they had matched the Lamotte brothers’ DNA to the remains of a woman found murdered in Tennessee in 1985. The DNA was tested using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). MtDNA is maternally inherited. Individuals that share a maternal lineage will typically have the same mtDNA type. The genetic data was entered into the Unidentified Human (Remains) and Relatives of Missing Person indices of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The UNT Center for Human Identification reported that the genetic data obtained from the unidentified human remains was consistent with originating from a biological sibling of the Lamotte brothers. The likelihood of a match was determined to be 194.4 million times more likely than the unidentified remains originating from another individual in the United States.
The Manchester Police Department was connected to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) who had submitted the DNA from the unidentified remains to NamUs. Detective Brandon Elkins of the TBI advised that the body, now identified as Ms. Lamotte, was found deceased in the City of Greenville, in Green County, Tennessee, along Interstate 81, on April 14, 1985. Ms. Lamotte had no identification on or near her body when she was discovered. An autopsy determined that her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, her manner of death a homicide, and that she had likely been deceased for 2-3 weeks before she was discovered. Her age was estimated at 15-20 years old. Her height was estimated at approximately 5’6” tall. Her hair was documented as brown with red highlights. Her remains have been at the University of Tennessee at the Forensic Anthropology Center (FAC) in Knoxville, Tennessee since 1985.
TBI Detectives have worked to identify Ms. Lamotte’s remains and to determine the circumstances surrounding her murder since 1985. In attempts to identify her remains Detectives searched NCIC’s data base for missing juveniles and adults. They also searched the records of the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) repository for Missing and Unidentified Persons in an attempt to identify her. However, these data bases had no information to assist in identifying Ms. Lamotte’s remains. In 2006, a DNA sample was collected from Ms. Lamotte’s remains and this was submitted to NamUs. It was not until the Lamotte brothers’ DNA samples were submitted to that same data base that NamUs discovered the match and was able to identify the remains as Elizabeth Lamotte.
The Lamotte family has been notified that Ms. Lamotte’s remains have been located. The TBI continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms. Lamotte’s death. Anyone with information about Ms. Lamotte’s death should contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.