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Woman killed in string of murders ID'd after more than 30 years

KNOX COUNTY, Kentucky (WKRN) - A woman who was killed as part of a string of murders has been identified after more than three decades. The victim is believed to part of the "Redhead Murders." 

The body of an unidentified female was found inside an old refrigerator in Knox County, Kentucky, on April 1, 1985. An autopsy revealed the Jane Doe had been strangled to death. 

DNA later identified the woman as Espy Regina Black-Pilgrim.  

In October 2017, Kentucky State Police investigators were contacted by one of Pilgrim's family members after seeing a shared social media post. 

Detective Aaron Frederick and Intelligence Analyst Chris Daniels traveled to North Carolina to take DNA samples from the victim’s suspected children to send to National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) for comparison.  

Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office and FBI were able to confirm that Espy Regina Black-Pilgrim is the Knox County Jane Doe.  

"The family now has some closure to their missing loved one after 33 years," authorities said in a news release. 

This is still an ongoing murder investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police at 606-573-3131.  

Pilgrim is one of seven redheads who was murdered in the mid-1980's in Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky.  

Three weeks ago, another redhead murder victim was identified as 22-year-old Tina Farmer. A victim found in Cheatham County remains unidentified to this day.

Any information on the Cheatham County Jane Doe should be directed to the TBI.


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