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40 Years Later, We Finally Know Who 'Orange Socks' Is

She's Debra Jackson of Abilene, authorities announce; she was found dead in 1979
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2019 11:59 AM CDT
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Two police sketches of 'Orange Socks.'   (Williamson County Sheriff)

(Newser) – On Halloween in 1979, a woman was found strangled in a ditch off Interstate 35 in Georgetown, Texas, naked except for a pair of orange socks. For four decades, she's been known simply as "Orange Socks"—until now. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office announced this week that she's finally been identified as Debra Jackson of Abilene, who was 23 when she died. She had left home in 1977, but since it was not uncommon for her to leave and fail to contact family, she was never reported missing, KTXS reports. But in June, the sheriff's office released a new composite sketch of the unidentified victim, and Jackson's sister saw it and believed it could be her sister, KXAN reports. Eventually, DNA confirmed it was, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Henry Lee Lucas was convicted in 1984 of strangling the victim then still known only as "Orange Socks"; he once confessed to hundreds of murders, but eventually recanted all of his confessions. His death sentence was commuted to life in prison after an investigation showed he might have been in Florida when "Orange Socks" died. Sheriff Robert Chody would not say whether Lucas, who died in prison in 2001, was still considered a suspect in the case, and says it's too early to identify another possible suspect in Jackson's murder. "We’re hoping there’s a witness still alive and says, 'Hey, I knew Debra,'" he says, adding that DNA from the case is still being investigated. (DNA recently triggered a trial in the 1987 slaying of a young couple.)

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