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Montgomery County Sheriff Solves 43 Year Old Cold Case Homicide

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On September 7, 1979, 12-year-old Lesia Michell Jackson disappeared from her neighborhood off of FM 1485 after spending a day at her neighborhood pool. Her family contacted law enforcement and an extensive search was conducted to locate her. The next day her glasses were found at an area intersection, and sadly, on September 13, 1979, an oilfield worker found her body in a heavily wooded area along a pipeline near Exxon Road. An autopsy revealed Lesia had been sexually assaulted and murdered. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Detectives began an extensive investigation into her death that lasted for years, and while all leads were explored, the case eventually became cold.

12-year-old Lesia Michell Jackson
12-year-old Lesia Michell Jackson; Photo provided by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

In May 2005, the newly created MCSO Cold Case Homicide Squad took over the investigation, and in October 2021 a new forensic technology called “M-Vac” was used to process evidence suspected to be on Leisa’s clothing. DNA samples were retrieved from the clothing, and in April, 2022 Texas DPS Forensic Scientists were able to identify an unknown male DNA profile. This unknown DNA profile was loaded into the FBI-managed Combined DNA Index System, called “CODIS”. A CODIS match was found belonging to a local Conroe male named Gerald Dewight Casey. A search for Casey revealed he was deceased, executed by lethal injection on April 18, 2002 for a Capital Murder committed in Montgomery County in 1989. Additionally, on July 8, 2022, a blood sample from Casey obtained in 1989 was an exact DNA match for the evidence found by M-Vac and confirmed Casey as Lesia’s murderer.

This complex and detailed investigation spanning 43 years is the oldest Cold Case Homicide investigated and solved by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The tenacity and diligence in solving this case by a dedicated team is a reminder to our public and to those who commit crimes in our communities that we will never cease our efforts to solve the hardest of cases and bring closure to traumatized families. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will continue to explore future advances in technology that can assist us in solving other cases currently under investigation.

Gerald Dewight Casey TDCJ Intake Photo from 11/15/1991
Gerald Dewight Casey TDCJ Intake Photo from 11/15/1991; Photo provided by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

Source: Scott Spencer, Lieutenant, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Administrative Services