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DNA Testing Identifies Mississippi Victim of Hurricane Katrina After Nearly Two Decades

DNA Testing Identifies Mississippi Victim of Hurricane Katrina After Nearly Two Decades

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — A name is often seen as one of the most unique things about a person. After almost 20 years of not being known, the name of a Hurricane Katrina victim was finally found.

Hurricane Katrina killed 236 people and shook the Gulf Coast to its core. It was reported that 67 more people were missing.

It’s Tonette Waltman Jackson, 46, who was also known as “Tony,” was one of the people who died. She was from Biloxi.

A week after the storm, her body was found on St. Martin on a concrete slab, stuck between the rubble of two houses. She had on a T-shirt from Michigan State University. At the time, no one knew who she was.

A DNA test done recently by Othram Inc. in Texas linked Jackson to the bodies that were found under the two houses almost 20 years ago.

Jackson’s husband, Hardy Jackson, went up to former WKRG reporter Jennifer Mayerle in the shadows of the storm.

In 2005, Hardy Jackson said, “The house just split in half.” “We climbed all the way to the roof, and water came in and opened the house up.” Eaten it up.”

Hardy Jackson most likely saw his wife living for the last time. He said that the couple was hanging on to each other before nature broke up the family.

“I did my best,” Hardy Jackson said. “I squeezed her hand really hard, but she told me, ‘You can’t hold me.'” She told him, “Take care of the kids and the grandchildren.”

Even though Hardy Jackson died of cancer in 2013, people were still looking for his wife. The people of the Gulf Coast held his hand during the search, just like he did when his wife was dying.

Mayerle said, “We looked for her for so long and for so many years.”

Mayerle stayed in touch with the Jackson family.

“We called the hospitals.” The search of morgues began, Mayerle said. “We looked for Tony in every way we could.”

As a way to deal with his grief, Hardy Jackson put Tonette’s name on the headstone of his daughter before he died.

Jackson’s body was buried at the Pascagoula Machpelah Cemetery at the same time. “Jane Love” was written on her gravestone.

Mayerle said, “It breaks my heart to know that we were so close all these years.” “The police had always told her family and us that they thought she was lost in the storm surge and would never be found.” … “I didn’t think she could have been there.”

Police Lt. Darren Versiga of Pascagoula said Jackson’s body was dug up in February so DNA samples could be taken. Versiga said that Othram’s technology has helped find 27 bodies that no one knows anything about in Mississippi.

Some people said, “I wish Hardy knew before he died.” Jackson’s daughter didn’t want to say anything right now.

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