Donald Douglas

On October 16, 2023, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced that Donald Douglas was the lead suspect in the October 27, 1986 murder of 29-year-old Teresa Lee Scalf in Lakeland, Florida. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Douglas.

Scalf was murdered by an unknown intruder into her home. Her neck had been slashed, leaving her nearly decapitated, and she had numerous defensive wounds on her hands. Police state that the attack was sexually motivated.

A DNA profile of the suspect was developed using blood found at the crime scene. The profile was entered into CODIS sometime in the 2000s, but there were no hits.

The FIGG investigation was conducted by Othram in partnership with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, beginning in 2022. The final confirmation was made by kinship testing with Douglas’s son, as Douglas’ remains were cremated when he died.

Douglas passed away in 2008 from natural causes at the age of 54. Police have stated that he had no criminal history, and that he was a neighbour of Scalf. They also state that they interviewed him after the death, and he gave them no reason to suspect him of the crime. Police believe that Scalf rejected his sexual advances, and that he murdered her in anger. She had complained of being stalked and harassed by a neighbour shortly before her death, although she did not identify him.


Luperon, Alberto. “Cold Case ‘Sexual Rejection’ Murder of Nurse Solved by Linking Killer’s DNA to Distant Out-of-Wedlock Cousin: Deputies.” Law & Crime, October 17, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “Genealogy Identifies Now-Deceased Killer in 1986 Homicide.” Forensic Magazine, October 16, 2023.

Vogen, Michael. “Polk County Sheriff’s Office Teams with Othram to Identify the Suspect in the 1986 Murder of Teresa Lee Scalf.”, October 16, 2023. Accessed October 25, 2023.


First Name Donald
Last Name Douglas
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2022-00-00
Case Cleared 2023-10-16
IGG Org Othram


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
2075 Teresa Scalf 29 1986-10-27 Lakeland, FL Polk CSO Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 13, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.