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'I knew instantly' | Maine woman identified more than 40 years after her death in Louisiana

According to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, Michele Oakes was hit and killed by a car in 1981. Her daughter, Angie Jordan, finally has closure

DRESDEN, Maine — Angie Jordan said she can't imagine her life without her three adult children and her two grandchildren. Jordan raised the family in Maine, where her mother was born and raised. But when she was 4 years old, her mom took Jordan to Louisiana.

“My mom lived a little bit of a rough life. She was a little over the place and couldn’t get herself together," Jordan said over Zoom Friday.

In December of 1981, Jordan's mother, Michele Elaine Oakes, went missing. Jordan spent time living with her mom's friend after the fact. After local state agencies realized Jordan was not with her family, they asked her if she had relatives she could live with.

She moved back to Dresden and lived with her aunt and uncle until adulthood, but the question of what happened to her mother lingered. Jordan said she started actively looking for answers when she was 15.

Years later, the Saint Martin Parish Sheriff's Office conducted multiple DNA tests and used new facial recognition technology in hopes of identifying a "Jane Doe," who was hit and killed Dec. 5, 1981, in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

Five years ago, the agency released a digital rendition of what they believed Jane Doe's face would look like.

Unidentified Female Victim Of December 5, 1981 Breaux Bridge-I-10 Pedestrian Fatality Has Been Identified Sheriff...

Posted by St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office on Monday, July 18, 2022

“When I had seen her picture on the Facebook post, I knew it was her. I knew instantly that it was her. I said, ‘That’s my mom,'" Jordan said.

After connecting with local law enforcement, Jordan and close relatives took DNA tests last February to confirm her suspicion.

Last week, Jordan got a call she waited 40 years for and got the answers to what happened to her mother all those years ago.

Credit: Angie Jordan

“I was relieved. I didn’t cry. When I hung up the phone, I just sighed and just thought, it’s over, it’s finally over," Jordan added.

She said she wanted closure and she found it. Jordan also spoke about the people of Breaux Bridge and how a local funeral home covered her mother's funeral, burial, and gravestone expenses. 

A couple even looked after her mother's grave until they died recently. According to the local sheriff's office, a new resident is keeping the memory of Michele Elaine Oakes alive.

"This is just a reminder of how many good people are still left in this world, and that’s important right now," Jordan said.

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