Authorities identified Sally Ann Hines' head only after receiving an anonymous tip

By Harriet Sokmensuer
June 03, 2021 06:15 PM
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sally ann hines
Credit: Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office/San Antonio Police Department

A previously unidentified severed head found in Louisiana in 2017 has been identified as belonging to a Texas woman who vanished from her home months earlier.

The head was found in a plastic bag by trash crews working on the side of a highway in Cameron Parish in March 2018. Authorities ran a DNA test but no matches came back.

Months later, in 2019, the head was sent to the Louisiana State University's Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Laboratory, which analyzed the remains and created a computer generated composite sketch of the victim's face. But nobody at the time recognized the woman.

Last month, detectives finally received a tip from an anonymous source who noticed similarities between the composite image of the head and the missing persons flyer for 58-year-old Sally Ann Hines of San Antonio, Tx., according to the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, the head's identity was confirmed through dental records.

"This was just an individual that had an interest, and has an interest, in trying to match missing people with these various online sites and organizations," Cameron Parish coroner Dr. Kevin Dupke said of the person who matched the sketch with the missing persons flyer, KPLC reports.

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Hines went missing from her San Antonio home in December 2017.

"When I got up, she was gone," her husband, Harold Hines, said at the time of her disappearance. "She hadn't come back, let's put it that way."

Investigators believe Hines was murdered six weeks before her head was found. It remains unclear how Hines got to the Southwest Louisiana area.

Cameron Parrish Sherriff Ron Johnson told KEN5 her murder seems to have been personal.

"When someone does something like this they want to make sure the body parts are not identified," he said. "Because, most of the time, it would be some type of connection or relationship to the victim."

Now, while authorities continue to investigate Hines' death, her family is grieving their loved one and searching for answers.

In a statement, her sister, Barbara Gauthier, told KPLC: "There are no words to express our heartache and emotions that we feel. We can only pray that they find out what happened to her and whoever did this horrific act pays for what they did to her. We will not rest until we know what happened."