Smithfield, N.C. — Dozens of family members and friends gathered in Goldsboro on Sunday to remember the life of a Smithfield woman who was identified two weeks ago nearly 20 years after her body was found near railroad tracks in Virginia.
Despite not being able to bury the body of her daughter Angie Faye Toler, Delois Sherrod said Sunday's service did provide a bit of closure after 20 years of questions and suffering.
"For 20 years I prayed and hoped that one of these days the lord would bring her back to me, and he did," Sherrod said.
Two weeks ago, the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons told Sherrod and her family that DNA tests had confirmed that the remains of a Jane Doe, found in December of 1992, were Toler, who was last seen alive by her family before she moved to Richmond with her boyfriend.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond said Toler, 23, died of hypothermia and that her death was ruled accidental.
The discovery was made after Nona Best, a supervisor at the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, recognized Toler in a photo being used in a presentation at a National Missing and Unidentified Persons System training academy in November.
NAMUS is a free, public, nationwide repository of information about missing persons and unidentified decedent records.
Best, who knows the family personally, contacted Toler's sister and mother, and they submitted DNA samples that were a positive match.
"The years passed, and the years passed," Sherrod said. "I said, 'I know she's somewhere.'"
Sherrod said she believes her daughter wanted to move home after things didn't work out with her boyfriend in Richmond. On the night she disappeared, Sherrod said Toler called three times while she was working. When the family didn't hear back, Sherrod said she knew something was wrong.
She went to Virginia police, but she said they were not helpful.
"I refuse to believe she just went there and laid down," Sherrod said Sunday. "I actually believe somebody put her there, I really do. I don't know what happened, but we are going to keep on until we find out, because someone knows what happened."