This photo of Gloria Faye Stringer and her son Dan Moore of Sharon was taken only months before Stringer’s disappearance in Texas.
It was nearly 37 years ago when Dan Moore’s mom headed to The Lone-Star State leaving the six-year-old with his grandparents in Martin. Moore, who now lives in Sharon and serves as assistant special agent in charge with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division in West Tennessee, has searched his adult life for keys to finding his mother after her disappearance in 1975 in Texas.
“I have probably looked through thousands of photos looking for my mom,” Moore said in a phone interview Monday.
In 1975, Gloria Faye Stringer called home to tell her family she planned to travel to Houston. They never heard from her again.
On June 7, 1975, boys fishing near a subdivision in Sealy, Texas, spotted a nude body floating in the Brazos River. Her features were unrecognizable with the exception of her painted fingernails and yellow hair. With limited resources at the time, then 29-year-old Austin County Justice of the Peace Dennis R. King said there was little to do at the time but see if anyone was missing. The body was classified as a Jane Doe. Moore said it was 36 years to the date of the body’s discovery when the case had its first break. Sandy Stringer, Gloria’s sister-in-law in Tennessee, had called King’s office to try and identify the sketch of the Jane Doe.
“Without him (King), this case would never have made it this far,” Moore said. King was re-elected to his post 10 times and throughout his service, he had never stopped investigating the case.
In June 2009 King had the Jane Doe’s bones exhumed in hopes a forensic artist could reconstruct her face or they could recover DNA evidence. A DNA extract proved unsuccessful, but the sketch and case summary circulated on missing persons websites in 2010.
The phone call from Gloria’s sister-in-law in 2011 led to fitting puzzle pieces together for Moore and investigators. A combination of 11 different clues, including height, weight, age and the surgical removal of Gloria’s spleen led doctors to confirm Gloria’s identity earlier this month.
The cause of death when her body was found was ruled asphyxia due to drowning. King still isn’t convinced she didn’t die at the hands of another person or persons.
Moore said at the time his mother worked at a non-profit halfway house, had no vehicle, couldn’t swim and her body was found 87 miles from her residence.
“God answered my prayer by us being able to find her. I have forgiven the person who did this senseless act. I hope there is community awareness that is brought about by this will allow the authorities in Texas, as they continue their investigation. We all have a greater purpose than self, and I will be at peace – it’s HIS will that will determine the final outcome and I accept that,” Moore added.
A full investigation into her death has been launched in Texas. She was the third child of five and is survived by brothers Mike, Rick and Jeff and one sister, Teresa. Her parents are James Stringer and the late Louise Stringer of Martin.
Moore resides in Sharon with his wife and two children. He has served with the Tennessee Highway Patrol since 1995. He is currently in the 248th session of the FBI National Academy.
“I am very honored and proud to be a representative for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, but I am more humbled because the THP command staff have supported me during the Texas investigation involving mom.”