MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — This week marks 40 years since a Mobile County man went missing, and now there’s a renewed push to solve what happened.
For years, Judy Morris had no idea what happened to her brother when he went missing one Monday night in August of 1982.
“I’ve gone 40 years without knowing, it would be a blessing to know,” said Morris.
Jerry Gray went missing after he got home from work. Jerry lived on Hayfield Road in Theodore, he was a civil engineer with the State of Alabama.
“He came home between 5 & 6, he had a roommate. The phone rang, his roommate answered it and said it was a man, it was for Jerry. Jerry said ‘I’ll be back in a little bit,’ and he grabbed his motorcycle helmet, got on his motorcycle, and went down the road and he never returned,” said Morris.
But now, she has hope, after a genealogy analyst with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office reached out to her.
“I asked Sheriff Cochran if I could take the missing persons cases that we have in our jurisdiction and contact their families after decades and ask for a DNA sample because that’s my thing DNA. To see if it matches within our database with any sets of unidentified remains,” said Olivia McCarter, a genealogy analyst with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
Both Jerry and Judy were adopted as babies, so Jerry has no known blood relatives. McCarter, who is also a student at the University of South Alabama, is working on opening up his adoption records trying to find a possible relative to ask for a DNA sample from them. She has been working on using DNA to solve unidentified cases since she was 18, she’s now 21. She’s solved seven cases so far.
“These cold cases, it’s my entire life it’s all I think about. I have in my office in the sheriff’s office a wall of pictures of every single victim I’ve identified, I want to keep adding to it I want Jerry on there too,” said McCarter.
McCarter hopes to add Jerry to her list of accomplishments and bring him home.
“I think one of the most astonishing and overwhelming days of my life was when Olivia got a hold of me,” said Morris.
Both Morris and McCarter ask anyone with any information about Jerry’s disappearance to contact the sheriff’s office.