HomeNewsCanada’s ‘Nation River Lady’ identified as Jackson’s Jewell Parchman Langford

Canada’s ‘Nation River Lady’ identified as Jackson’s Jewell Parchman Langford

The subject of one of Canada’s most famous cold case murders has finally been identified– 48 years after her body was discovered in the Nation River. A Florida man has now been charged in her murder.

The “Nation River Lady” has been identified as Jewell Parchman Langford, a well-known business woman and community member who went missing in 1975. 

Family has identified this photo, taken on April 20, 1975 as the last known photo of Jewell Parchman Langford. Her body was found just weeks later in Canada and remained unidentified until 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Parchman family)

Denise Parchman Chung was young when her aunt went missing, but remembers her fondly. 

“From everything that I can remember, she was just a very caring person. She loved to help the community. She was big in health and fitness. She and her then-husband owned several spas. She was just a very outgoing person and very happy in life. She loved to travel. I remember going to their house, and she would always take me shopping and let me get what I wanted. My dad (Jewell’s brother) helped them build their house, and to me back then, it was just a mansion for the times and Jackson.”

Langford owned the Jackson Health Club and Imperial Health Spa with then-husband Atlas Langford in the early 70s. According to her family, she and Atlas divorced in that same time period. Then, she traveled to Canada, never to be heard from again. 

Who was the Nation River Lady?

The subject of speculation, true crime television episodes, Facebook groups, Canada’s “Nation River Lady” was one of the most famous cold case murders in the country. 

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, a farmer found a female body floating in the Nation River near a bridge crossing on Highway 417, just outside the town of Casselman, which is 60 kilometers east of Ottawa, Ontario. At that time it was estimated the remains had been in the water since early spring of that year, or fall of the previous year. 

An autopsy of the remains revealed that the woman was between the ages of 25 and 50, had dyed reddish-blonde hair and pink finger and toe nails. She had been strangled with a television cable wire and her hands and feet were tied with men’s neckties.

However, the Canadian investigators were unsuccessful in identifying the victim of that attack. 

In 2017, the Ontario Provincial Police forensic artists created a 3D reconstruction of the “Nation River Lady.” (Photo courtesy of the OPP)

In 2017, the OPP reopened the case and created a 3D reconstruction of the victim and brought new attention to the Nation River Lady.

DNA cracked the case

“When my grandmother (Jewell’s mother) was alive, it was a constant battle,” Denise Chung said, “She continuously contacted the FBI to get updates in Canada, the OPP, talked to them quite often.”

Jewell Langford never had any children of her own, and now all of her siblings have passed as well. 

“Slowly as family members passed away, it kind of fell back on me to continuously push. I didn’t think that anybody had any idea. I really thought the case was completely cold and no one was doing anything. Until I was contacted in 2020 about providing DNA.”

The DNA Doe Project has now updated their website to reflect their effort in solving the case. The organization is a nonprofit dedicated to finding John and Jane Does with genealogy. Chung and other family members’ DNA is what eventually cracked the mystery.

“A DNA profile was developed and uploaded to the genetic genealogy databases at GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA in 2020. By researching matches from these sites and conducting an extensive search of available records, DDP’s team of volunteer investigative genetic genealogists targeted Langford as a likely candidate within a few weeks,” the Doe Project said in their statement.

Finally at peace, but awaiting justice

In Jackson, several years after Jewell Langford disappeared, she was officially declared dead. Her family memorialized her at the Highland Memorial Gardens with a headstone that read: “Missing, but not forgotten.”

In 2021, with the help of Highland Memorial Gardens and George A. Smith and Sons Funeral Home, the family held a small ceremony and buried Jewell’s ashes. The headstone now reads: “Finally home and at peace.”

“We’re very grateful that we found her. We know what happened,” Chung said, “We’re very grateful that we were able to bring her body back here.” 

According to a warrant, 81-year-old Rodney Nichols has been charged with Langford’s murder. The records indicate he is still alive and lives in Florida. He was charged in September of 2022, but it is unclear whether he has been, or will be, arrested. 

And as they have done for the last 48 years, the Parchman and Langford families will be waiting for more information and closure in Jewell’s death.

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments