After decades of anonymity, the unidentified remains discovered inside a garment bag in a desolate area of northern Nevada in 1978 have finally been identified, Your Content has learned.
Nevada State Police made the long-awaited announcement on Wednesday, revealing that advancements in DNA testing have uncovered the true identity of the deceased.
The woman has been identified as Florence Charleston, a Cleveland, Ohio, resident who had recently relocated to Portland, Oregon before her untimely demise.
The circumstances surrounding Charleston’s death and her subsequent burial in a shallow grave, located 535 miles (860 kilometers) away from her new home, remain shrouded in mystery.
In a news release, authorities stated that the investigation into her death is still ongoing.
Charleston had migrated to the Pacific Northwest during the early 1970s, losing contact with her family, including a niece who would later play a pivotal role in the police investigation many years later.
The remains of Charleston were discovered inside the garment bag in October 1978 by officers from the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, the primary agency handling the initial investigation.
Alongside the remains, they also found several pieces of women’s clothing.
Despite an autopsy indicating that the badly decomposed remains belonged to a woman in her 40s, the cause of death could not be determined at the time, leaving the case unresolved.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System subsequently recorded the case, including a facial reconstruction of the woman based on detectives’ assumptions about her appearance before her demise.
According to the entry, the unidentified woman was estimated to be 5-foot-5 with red or auburn hair, possibly left-handed.
The clothing recovered with her remains included a dark-green sweater with a white safety pin, dark-green trousers, and a long-sleeved pink sweater.
In the spring of 1979, Nevada State Police sought assistance from specialists to solve the case. They explored various methods, such as digital facial reconstruction, comparing dental records with missing persons databases and unsolved cases, and analyzing the clothing found with the remains.
However, their efforts failed to yield any breakthroughs.
However, in March of last year, a significant development occurred.
Nevada State Police partnered with Othram Inc., a private forensic genealogy laboratory renowned for its expertise in solving cold cases.
In their separate statement, Othram announced that they successfully utilized DNA extracted from the remains to create a comprehensive DNA profile for the unidentified woman, ultimately leading investigators to Florence Charleston’s niece.
With a DNA sample provided by the niece, the laboratory was able to establish a conclusive link between the 45-year-old remains and Florence Charleston, finally shedding light on her identity and potentially opening new avenues for the ongoing investigation into her tragic demise, according AP News.