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Remains might be woman missing from DFW Airport since 2001

LEWISVILLE -- Skeletal remains found near Lake Lewisville last year could be those of a missing 70-year-old California Alzheimer’s patient who disappeared in December 2001 during a layover at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, police said Wednesday.

Clothing and several business cards discovered near the remains have been identified as belonging to Margie Louise Dabney, who went missing on Dec. 5, 2001, during a layover of an American Airlines flight from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. She was with her husband, Joe Dabney, 63, who used a wheelchair at that time.

Authorities were attempting to compare the DNA from the remains with family members of Margie Dabney, police said Wednesday.

Investigators compared the DNA remains to missing persons in the area last year, but there was no match, police said.

"The clothing found matched what she had been wearing," Lewisville police Capt. Todd Taylor said Wednesday. "And her name was on several business cards."

The clothing and identification were found Monday after officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers walked through the area after they burned several acres just south of Lake Lewisville dam.

D/FW police contacted the family on Tuesday.

The skeletal remains were found in November just south of the dam after another control burn. The scene is about 10 miles from the airport.

Authorities had not determined a cause of death, but police continued Wednesday to investigate the case.

Dabney was last seen during the morning of Dec. 5, 2001, in Terminal A at the airport.

She had been staying with relatives in Indianapolis while Joe Dabney prepared their new apartment in Bakersfield, Calif. Joe Dabney met his wife in Indianapolis for the flight home.

Relatives had asked the airlines to provide a courtesy escort, and airline officials said the couple were met on the plane by an assistant who handles passengers with special needs.

When the couple said they needed to use the restroom during their layover at D/FW, the attendant accompanied Joe Dabney and asked Margie Dabney to meet them at the gate. She never arrived there.

Authorities searched the airport, but failed to find her.

The disappearance drew national attention when the late trial lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. joined the family in the search of Margie Dabney. Cochran was one of the attorneys who represented O. J. Simpson during his 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles.

At one time, a $100,000 reward had been offered in 2004 for information leading to the location of Margie Dabney. The reward was offered by a California law firm that represented American Airlines and Prospect Airport Services at that time.

The family of Margie Dabney filed a lawsuit against American Airlines and that was settled a few years ago, said Tim Wagner of American Airlines. Details were not released.