After more than three decades as a Jane Doe, an unidentified teen girl in an Apache Junction, Arizona, cold case now has a name, the city's police department announced Thursday.
She was identified as 15-year-old Melody Harrison, who was reported missing from Phoenix in June 1992. Officials credited the "persistent" and long-lasting efforts of police investigator Stephanie Bourgeois and the genetic genealogy techniques of the DNA Doe Project in achieving the break in the case, AZCentral.com.
Investigators used the DNA Doe Project's forensic genealogy to analyze Harrison's possible relatives and build her family tree. Branches were made using genealogical records and two databases — GEDmatch Pro and FamilyTreeDNA.com — before a DNA comparison with a family member confirmed Harrison's identity.
Bourgeois, who worked on the case for 15 years and tried numerous methods to find the girl's identity, said she is pleased with the breakthrough but knows the job is far from finished. Although identifying the girl is a breakthrough in her case, investigators have not yet determined how she died.
The girl's body was found in a remote desert area in August 1992, about 40 miles from her home.