Human remains found in 'extremely remote' area of Oregon identified as missing Washington woman
03/07/2023 4:39 pm PST
LINN COUNTY, Ore. (TCD) -- Genealogical technology helped officials in Oregon identify a woman whose "partially skeletonized human body" was found in a remote area three years ago.
According to Oregon State Police, the remains were located April 4, 2020, on an "extremely remote, wooded area" near a U.S. Forest Service road about 13 miles east of Sweet Home in Linn County. Linn County Sheriff’s Office investigators went to the scene and found an "almost-complete skeleton" of a woman as well as other "distinct articles of clothing," but there was no tangible form of identification.
Officials determined the woman was most likely between 30 and 50 years old when she died. Her information was uploaded to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, and the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office sent a piece of bone to a technology company for processing. Oregon State Police said the DNA taken from the bone sample was uploaded to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), but there were no matches to any missing people or other family trees.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office created a forensic illustration of the woman and shared it widely, but there were still no positive identifications.
According to the statement, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office sent one of the woman’s teeth to a DNA lab, which helped create a phenotype profile thanks to Parabon Nanolabs. Parabon’s analysis reportedly determined the woman "was of both Northern European and African descent, with fair skin, green or hazel eyes, light brown hair, and likely 'some' freckling of the skin during life."
Parabon used investigative genetic genealogy, which helps "identify human remains by tying DNA from those remains to a family with a missing person."
The investigative genetic genealogy report "provided the strongest investigative lead yet," which led to the woman being identified as Grace Lorna Narvaez-Weaver. She had been missing from Washington since 2019.
Detectives from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office obtained a DNA sample from one of her relatives, which returned the strong likelihood of a parent-child relationship. According to Oregon State Police, the investigation into her death is "ongoing."
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