Local News

Smithfield woman identified 20 years after death

Posted August 3, 2012 12:12 a.m. EDT
Updated August 3, 2012 7:23 p.m. EDT

— A body found by railroad tracks in Virginia 20 years ago has been identified as a Smithfield woman.

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons says DNA tests confirmed that the remains, found in December 1992, to be that of Angie Faye 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, 21, 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 family was notified Tuesday, First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, director of the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons said.

Best could not be reached for comment Friday.

Toler's mother, Delois Sherared, said she believes her daughter wanted to move home after things didn't work out with her boyfriend in Richmond.

"We were very close," Sherared said. "We knew something was going on when we hadn’t heard from her."

She went to Virginia police when she lost touch with her daughter, but she said they were not helpful.

Sherared said she accepted the fact long ago that her daughter likely wasn't alive and that she is just relieved that her death wasn't a violent act.

"I just didn't know how she died," she said. "Knowing that she wasn't murdered or molested or her throat wasn't cut or she wasn't drugged, that's a big relief – a very, very big relief."