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Lily Prendergast

A missing woman's remains are identified nearly four decades after being found

  • Last updated: March 21, 2022
  • Sacramento, CA
  • October 27, 1981

Overview of Lily Prendergast

Lily Ann Prendergast was a 26 year old woman living in Dallas, Texas at the time of her disappearance in late 1980. Her older brother, William, described his sister as a free spirit and someone who frequently hitchhiked. William remembers the last time he saw his little sister when she left her father’s home after an argument and was heartbroken when he never saw or heard from her again, even on his birthday, a time when he could always expect at least a phone call.

On October 27, 1981, investigators with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to human remains found on the side of I-5 in Sacramento, CA. Upon arriving, they discover partial human remains that, upon further investigation, are determined to belong to a Caucasian woman between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. In their search to identify the young woman, police also announced that the individual would have stood around 5’5” tall and had long brown hair. 

To help identify this young woman, police submitted the collected DNA profile to the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs) along with both the state and national missing persons DNA database, in 2005. In 2019, Lily’s brother, William, submits his DNA to the FBI, with hopes of finally finding his long-lost sister, nearly 40 years after he saw her for the last time. 

In February of 2020, the FBI alerted the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office of a recent match to their Jane Doe. Thanks to William’s DNA contribution, investigators were able to positively identify the remains found in 1981 as 26 year old Lily Ann Prendergast 

Though Lily's case doesn’t have many details, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office has labeled her case as a homicide investigation, though no cause of death was determined. Additionally, investigators announced in 2020 that they believe that Lily had been killed 1-5 months before the discovery of her body. Police are asking that anyone with information regarding Lily’s case please contact the Sacramento County Sheriff Office at (916) 874-TIPS (8477). 


  1. Date Found:October 27, 1981
  2. Birthday:April 4, 1955
  3. Age at Incident:26
  4. Race:Caucasian / White
  5. Gender:Female
  6. Height:5'0" - 5'4"
  7. Hair Color:Brown

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