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Memorial Company Donates Headstone to Family of Unsolved Homicide Victim

HAZLETON, Pa. -- For nearly 50 years, the victim of an unsolved homicide in Luzerne County was simply known as Jane Doe 1970.

Thanks to a forensics team working with state police, she has been identified. Now, a monument company has stepped up to pay for her headstone.

Lucille Frye went missing from Wilkes-Barre in September in 1970 around the same time an unidentified body was found in the woods off Interstate 81 near Nuangola.

A forensics team was able to identify her body using DNA from her family.

A detective on the case called the people at Hazleton Memorial Company, looking to see if they would be willing to donate a headstone.

“We know how hard it is for people out there that don't have the money and things like that. That's why we decided to do it without even hesitating,” Helen Walters of the Hazleton Memorial Company said.

Frye’s family plans on burying her near her sister at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Hanover Township. The headstone that they're getting costs about $700. Since the family says there's no way they could have known to save up for something like this, this donation is a huge financial weight off their shoulders.

“It's very meaningful because this is our business. You have to be compassionate in this business,” Walters said.

Walters said her company donated the grave marker because they felt it was the right thing to do.

“You call us up, and we'd be glad to do it. It's more from our heart,” Walters said.

At a news conference last week announcing the identification of Frye, her nephew, Mitchell Johnson, said his family can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

“To finally put a headstone on the grave that I knew all this time was my aunt, I knew. She was Jane Doe for 46 years and now she'll have a name,” Johnson said.

The family plans to bury Frye in the Maple Hill Cemetery in late May.

The investigation into Frye's suspicious death is ongoing.