A GRIEVING daughter has asked the public for information on her mom’s death decades after her body was found dumped in a river in Virginia.
Brenda Gee-Knight was last seen on the week of Thanksgiving 2000 – seven months before her remains were discovered by a canoeist in the Mattaponi River.
The 34-year-old hairdresser’s body was not identified for 12 years after it was found, as there was no DNA in the system to help identify her.
It wasn’t until her oldest daughters, Diamond Johnston, began searching for her and submitted her DNA that there was a match to the bones found in the river.
Diamond, who was nine when her mother went missing, opened up about her mother and asked for help to figure out what happened to her.
“She was well known; she was a good person. That hurts a lot to know that my mom wasn’t there for the birth of my kids,” Johnston told WTVR.
“I graduated from high school, you name it, all the big accomplishments that I did. She will not be forgotten. I’m going to figure it out. I figured out who she was when she was a Jane Doe. And I’m going to figure out who killed her.”
Brenda was was last seen when her youngest sister Lauri Gee dropped her off along Jefferson Davis Highway in South Richmond.
She wasn’t officially reported missing until 2004.
The mother-of-three had a history of substance abuse and prostitution and was released from jail for failing to complete a a drug program months before her disappearance.
She was also a confidential informant for the Richmond Police Department, according to WTVR.
More than two decades after Brenda’s disappearance, the Reopen the Case Foundation, her family and investigators are hoping renewed attention in the case brings an end to the mystery.
“In the recent months leading up to the discovery, we do have a belief that the person who dumped the body probably had some knowledge of that roadway in that area,” said Virginia State Police Agent Angela Witt.
Police have not revealed how Brenda died but have deemed the death a homicide.
“My mom didn’t deserve to have her body thrown away like trash,” Johnston added.
Anyone with information on the case can reach the Virginia State Police at (804)-553-3408.