MARION: A woman who convicted serial killer Shawn Grate admitted to killing in Marion County has been identified, 12 years after her bones were discovered by police.

The woman was identified as Dana Nicole Lowrey, 23, of Minden, La., said Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey at a news conference Tuesday. Her remains were found in Salt Rock Township in Marion County on March 10, 2007, and police said Grate killed her in May 2006.

“There was no clothing, jewelry, a purse or any identifying materials left at the scene,” Bailey said.

Police had very little to go on in investigating the remains.

“DNA was collected and entered into the national computer database and a worldwide search began with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” Bailey said.

The case changed when Grate was arrested in September 2016 after the bodies of Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley were found in an empty Ashland house owned by Pump House Ministries. Bailey said Grate admitted to Marion County sheriff’s detectives after his arrest that he killed a woman in Marion, while also admitting to killing two other women in Ashland and Richland counties.

Grate could not remember the name of the victim, but knew the woman sold magazines door to door.

A sketch was made up by a Delaware County Sheriff’s Office sketch artist in October 2016, after an interview with Grate. A 3D facial reconstruction sculpture was made by an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations forensics artist and the images were released to the public in January 2017.

In 2018, BCI conducted an oxygen isotope analysis of Lowrey’s bones, which revealed that she was likely born and had lived in the southern United States, and a bulletin was released to law enforcement in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia or Florida.

Then, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office partnered with a nonprofit organization called DNA Doe. DNA Doe uploaded the DNA and compared the DNA to samples in databases and pulled from the remains, and that ultimately led to the match and identification of Lowrey.

Attorney General Dave Yost said during the news conference that the identification of Lowrey was an important step for the justice system and for closure, despite Grate already receiving a death sentence in Ashland County and life in prison for the two women he killed in Richland County.

 

Dylan Sams can be reached at 419-281-0581, ext. 240, and dsams@times-gazette.com