‘Oh my God, they found her’: Remains of Fairfax Co police ID found 20 years ago as teenager who went missing in 1975

Fairfax County police have identified remains found decades ago as those of a Tysons, Va., teenager who went missing in the 1970s. The question remains: who killed her?

For Fairfax County police, it was a mystery that had baffled investigators for more than two decades: the identity of a young woman whose remains were found in 2001 in a wooded area of ​​what is now Tysons, Virginia.

For Veronique Duperly, it was a much longer and more painful mystery: what happened to her younger sister, affectionately known as “Shubby,” who disappeared without a trace in the 1970s.

Color photo of Patricia Agnes “Shubby” Gildavy, who disappeared in 1975. Gildovia’s remains were found in a wooded area near Tysons, Virginia in September 2001. (Courtesy of Otram)

Now, thanks to new technology, Fairfax County police say they know both answers. Police announced Monday that the remains found in September 2001 have been identified as Duperley’s sister, Patricia Agnes Gildavy, who was last seen in 1975 when she was 17 years old.

“It’s been 47 years, but what was a mystery now has some answers,” Maj. Ed O’Carroll, chief of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Criminal, Cyber ​​and Forensic Division, told WTOP.

“Tyson Jane Doe” finally got its name back

But there is one piece of the puzzle that police are still hoping to solve.

“We are excited about this breakthrough,” O’Carroll said. “We’re halfway there—we’re going to find out who Patricia’s killer was.”

“Ignorance was the worst”

Gildavi’s remains were found on September 27, 2001 by a construction crew working behind an apartment complex off International Drive just north of where Tysons Galleria is now located. The victim is believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, 5ft 5in tall and with partially dyed red hair. She was shot in the back of the head.

The victim remained Jane Doe for years — Dapperly told WTOP she hadn’t even heard of police finding the remains in 2001.

Earlier this year, O’Carroll told WTOP that police are reaching out to Othram, a Texas DNA lab, to try to identify the remains. The lab, which uses advanced testing and forensic genealogy, helped locate Dapperly, who uploaded a DNA sample to an online database after receiving an Ancestry.com subscription as a Christmas present several years ago.

That led detectives to Dapperly’s door in Calvert County, Maryland, earlier this year.

Duperlee was relieved when detectives finally told her what happened to her sister, “because I knew I didn’t have to worry about her anymore,” she said. “Oh my God, they found her. In a sense, she is safe.”

“The worst thing was not knowing because I couldn’t even imagine what could have happened to her,” Dapperly said. “I was wondering if she had a family? Did she get married? Was she sick? Was she injured? Was she in a hospital somewhere? You know, you don’t know, and you don’t know where to look. No one could help me.”

Othram’s high-tech work also helped police clear up some misconceptions about their Jane Doe.

At the time the remains were discovered, a review by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and Anthropologist stated that the victim was an African-American woman and that the remains had likely been in the woods for about two years when they were discovered. in 2001.

Gildavi was actually white and police now believe the remains have been in the woods since the mid-70s – shortly after the teenager went missing.

Jane Doe, September 2001
Gildavi’s remains were found near a drainage ditch on September 27, 2001.

Free spirit

Dapperly, who is 18 months older than her younger sister, had recently married and started a life of her own when “Chubby” went missing in February 1975.

The family nickname means “little cabbage”.

“My mother called her ‘my little cabbage’ when she was a baby because she had such a round head,” Dapperly said.

Gildovey, who was born in France in 1958, moved with her family to Fairfax City when she was 8 months old and grew up in Northern Virginia.

“She was a free spirit,” her sister recalled. “She didn’t want to live by anyone’s rules. She was a sweet girl. As far as I know, she didn’t hurt anyone. But she just connected with the wrong people.”

An older man

At the time she went missing, Gildavy was dating an older man — in his early 30s, Dapperley recalled — who worked at an upholstery shop.

Shuby had a habit of coming home to her mother at least once every few weeks. “Find something to eat, have a place to lay your head,” Dapperly said. And then, suddenly, she stopped coming home.

“In the back of my mind, I’m absolutely certain — there’s no proof right now — that he probably had something to do with her disappearance,” Dapperly said of the man her sister dated.

O’Carroll of the Fairfax County Police Department said detectives are interested in speaking with the man. The upholstery shop was located near the intersection of Church Street and Loyers Road in Vienna, but is no longer there.

“We worked hard to track him down,” O’Carroll said. “We know where he worked – this enterprise is no longer working. So we have a lot of work to do to find out where he is and what he knows.”

“Re-creating the 70s”

In nearly 50 years, the entire landscape of Fairfax County has changed—the gleaming glass towers of the Tysons have replaced what was once farmland; people dispersed; the memories may have faded.

After a high-tech break in the case, investigators turned their attention to old-fashioned detective work.

“We’re recreating the ’70s,” O’Carroll said, “finding out who she was with, who she was hanging out with.” We are trying to find people who knew her.”

The remains of a Fairfax County police ID were found in 2001

At the time she went missing, police said Gildovey was driving a red Cadillac Eldorado.

“Maybe someone can come forward with information that will give us more insight into where she was the night she was killed,” O’Carroll said.

Dapperly said the most important thing for her is to know what happened to her sister. As for whether police will ever find her sister’s killer, she said she doubts it given the time that has passed.

She said she remembers watching Tysons Corner being built over the years — widening highways, building offices and shopping centers — and never knowing her sister’s body was buried in the woods off International Drive.

“Someone took her out into the woods, shot her in the back of the head and left her there without a second thought… If they find out who did it, I will be very surprised and grateful. But I have my doubts,” Dapperly said.

Police are asking anyone with information about Gildovey’s disappearance or death to contact Fairfax County Crime Stoppers. Tips can be submitted anonymously by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) and online on the Crime Solvers website.

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