DNA identifies truck driver as killer in 1988 murder of Stacey Chahorski

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Previously unavailable DNA information has solved the 34-year-old murder case of Stacey Chahorski, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Henry Fredrick Wise, also known as Hoss Wise, has been identified through genealogy DNA as Stacey Chahorski’s killer.

Wise would have been 34 at the time of Chahorski’s murder in 1988.  

Who was Hoss Wise?

Wise was a truck driver, traveling the route for Western Carolina trucking company, driving through Chattanooga to Birmingham to Nashville and was also a stunt driver.

DNA identifies truck driver as killer in 1988 murder of Stacey Chahorski

In 1999, Wise was killed in a car accident at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina and was burned to death. 

Wise had a criminal history in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, ranging from theft, assault, to obstruction of a police officer. All of Wise’s arrests predate mandatory DNA testing after felony arrest.

Finding a Killer

GBI agents assigned to this investigation sought the FBI to assist with genealogy DNA. The FBI used Othram, a lab specializing in this advanced testing, and received positive results on June 13, 2022. The GBI began to interview family and obtained DNA swabs for comparison to the profile created through genealogy DNA and identified Wise. 

Mary Beth Smith, Stacey Chahorski’s mother, expresses gratitude to the FBI, GBI Special Agent Adam Jones for his relentless pursuit of the case, and GBI Forensic Artist Marla Lawson for her work on the composite drawing and clay rendering. She also thanks Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross, all the people in Dade County who took care of Stacy as she was brought home to Norton Shores, Michigan, and the Norton Shores Police Department for never giving up on finding her.

Identifying Stacey Chahorski

Chahorski was not positively identified until March of this year after DNA testing was performed on her remains. That identification allowed investigators to move on to finding and identifying her killer.

On Friday, December 16, 1988, at around 2 p.m., the Dade County Sheriff’s Office and the GBI responded to the scene of a body located about 5 miles from the Alabama state line on I-59 northbound lane in Dade County. The body was of an unidentified woman that had been killed.  

For years, GBI agents and Dade County investigators worked diligently to identify the victim. A GBI forensic artist made clay renderings and drew composites to recreate what the victim would look like in hopes of identifying her.

In the mid-2000s, the case was reassigned, and investigators found additional evidence that could possibly identify the victim. Investigators sent the evidence to the FBI lab in Washington D.C. for further testing. Analysts developed a DNA profile of the victim and entered the profile in the missing persons DNA database. 

In 2015, the case was reassigned again, and a GBI forensic artist did new clay renderings and composites of the victim for an age progression. The GBI contacted the FBI about the possibility of using a new type of genealogy investigation that had been credited with assisting in solving other cold cases, particularly homicide investigations.

With this technology, Stacey Lyn Chahorski was identified.

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