Anthropologist Says Bones Belong To Woman Missing Since 1978

Knoxville (AP) -- A forensic anthropologist says the skull and bones found near an East Tennessee lake are those of a woman who went missing nearly 29 years ago.

The announcement by Doctor William Bass comes after a two-year effort to identify the bones that included two grave exhumations, numerous DNA tests and a facial reconstruction in an effort to determine if the bones belonged to Leoma Patterson.

Patterson was a 52-year-old divorcee when she was last seen alive in October 1978 leaving a Knoxville bar with two men. Six months later, a cluster of human bones with jewelry and a mat of human hair were found near Norris Lake in Campbell County.

Authorities ruled at the time there was enough evidence to conclude the bones were Patterson's based on the scientific methods available at the time, but some family members were unconvinced.

A great-nephew confessed to the killing in 1985.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8230702 -
Gray Television, Inc.