Donald "Doc" Nash

A 26-year wait to determine who killed Judy Lynn Spencer, the Houston High School graduate who was found strangled and shot in Dent County, took an amazing turn Friday with the arrest of a 65-year-old acquaintance of the victim.

According to the court documents, DNA evidence found under the fingernails of the then 21-year-old woman is linked to Donald R. “Doc” Nash, 65, of Beaufort, who was arrested this afternoon by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Capt. Luke Vislay said investigators with the patrol arrested Nash at about 12:10 this afternoon in Franklin County. He is held without bond tonight in the Dent County after he was charged with capital murder.

A link to Nash came in November when James Folsom, a state patrol sergeant, submitted physical evidence to the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab in Jefferson City.

The examination, according to court documents, found an unidentified male DNA profile discovered under fingernail clippings taken from Spencer’s left hand. It was determined that the nature of the clipping indicated a struggle occurred.

According to court paperwork, Folsom obtained a voluntary swab of Nash’s DNA from his residence on March 13. Last Wednesday, the crime lab determined that Nash’s DNA matched the profile found from the body. It was later determined that a mixture of both person’s DNA was found under the left hand fingernails of Spencer.

According to the court documents, a witness, Texas County native Janet Jones, told investigators that the DNA couldn’t have been there earlier because Spencer washed her hair before leaving before the murder. The patrol, in its probable cause statement, said the DNA found is typically discovered when a struggle occurs.

On Wednesday, Folsom conducted an interview of Nash, who offered no explanation of why his DNA was found under the fingernails of Spencer. Faced with the information, Nash ended the interview, according to court documents.

The body of Spencer, a 1978 graduate of HHS, was discovered about 11 miles west of Salem. A former employee of the Brown Shoe Co. in Houston, Spencer was working at a Salem hospital at the time of her death.

The unsolved mystery continued for years as members of the Spencer struggled looking for answers. At one time, a plea was made to air the case on a national television program. Most recently a class with Drury University did a “cold-case” study of the crime and later completed a report that was turned over to the family.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply