Portland Local News

 

Detectives hope DNA solves cold case

Detectives hope DNA solves cold case

On January 8, 2014, the remains of an unidentified female were exhumed from an unmarked grave at the Longview Memorial Park and Cemetery.  This is the last unidentified person buried in Cowlitz County.

The remains will now begin an arduous journey stopping first in King County for facial reconstruction by a forensic anthropologist, then moving on to the University of Northern Texas for DNA extraction and entry into the DNA databases in hopes of finding a match or a relative.  The remains will return to the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office where they will be kept in anticipation of being reunited with family. 

“DNA technology has come a long way since this tragic collision” said Detective Sergeant Stacy Moate.  “We are hoping to be able to finally identify this person and return her to the care of her family”.

In May of 1991, the unidentified female was a passenger in a semi on Interstate 5 near Kalama.  The semi was involved in a collision and burst into flames.  Both the male driver and unidentified female were killed.  During the investigation it was learned that the female was not an authorized passenger.  The fire destroyed any identification she may have been carrying.

Over the next 23 years, WSP detectives have worked on attempting to identify the female.  For almost a decade, Detective Greg Wilcoxson has worked on this task and is hopeful this is the final step in the process.

“This could not have happened without the help of a lot of people”, said Detective Wilcoxson.  “I am grateful for each and every person who assisted us in getting to this point”.

The exhumation of the female was an arduous journey.  It was accomplished through the combined efforts of Crime Stoppers, Washington’s Most Wanted, the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office, Longview Memorial Park and Cemetery, and the Washington State Patrol Criminal Investigation Division.

“Once the facial reconstruction is complete we hope to get that picture and information out to as many people as we can”, said Detective Sergeant Moate.  “Although this was not a criminal case, we were determined to identify this young lady and do everything we could to get her home”. “We are hoping this is the final step toward that goal”

 

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