Dismembered body found in burning bag identified after 16 years, investigators say

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

Human remains found in a bag burning on the side of a road near the Georgia-Alabama border more than 16 years ago has been identified, criminal investigators say.

The case began on the morning of December 6, 2007, when deputies with the Troup County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the corner of Whitfield Road and Stitcher Road regarding a suspicious black bag that appeared to be burning.

When they arrived on scene they discovered what appeared to be human remains that had been dumped at the location and a bag was smoldering. The remains were partial as the hands, feet and head were missing.

At that point in the investigation the remains were sent to the GBI Crime Lab to try and determine an identification.

The only determination made was that it was an obvious homicide and the victim was an unidentified adult black female. After an extensive investigation the case went cold with no substantial leads or identification being made.

In early 2023 after a review of cold cases, this case along with DNA was sent to Innovative Forensic Investigations (Emporia, VA) and Gene by Gene Laboratories (Houston, TX) for DNA analysis and genetic genealogy forensics.

Those results were then sent to the GBI crime lab for comparison. On December 13, 2023 our office received word that a positive DNA match was made.

The identity of the remains are that of Nicole Alston whose last known residence was Manhattan, New York and was 24 years of age at that time.

Our Investigators were able to speak family members who confirmed that in July of 2006 Nicole moved to the Atlanta area and they had not heard from her since.

Now that an identification on the victim has been made, our Criminal Investigators will continue to move forward with this homicide investigation. Our appreciation to Innovative Forensic Investigations, Gene by Gene Laboratories and the GBI for their assistance in this 16 year old case.

If anyone has any information regarding this case they are asked to call our Criminal Investigation Division at 706-883-1616 or Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000.