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Forensic Magazine, November 15, 2023: Mother, Boyfriend Arrested After Genealogy Identifies 5-Year-Old Murdered in 1988

In December 1988, in a rural wooded area in Waycross, GA, a truck driver discovered skeletal remains in a box off Dunkin Bridge Road. The remains were that of a young child and were found concealed inside a duffel bag that was placed inside a suitcase, and further concealed inside an old television cabinet. Investigators estimated that the child had been deceased for one to two months before being found. The child was a black female and thought to be 3-4 years old. She had black hair pulled into a ponytail secured on the top of her head by a brown rubber band. She was found wearing a white knit pullover shirt with a red pony emblem on the upper left chest, white thermal pajama bottoms with maroon trim, and a disposable diaper. The child’s ears were pierced but no earrings were found with her remains.

Ware County Sheriff Investigators responded to the scene and began working to identify the young girl. Local investigators teamed with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to aid in the investigation. Hundreds of leads and tips to identify the child were examined and substantial investigative effort was applied towards the case. Unfortunately, with few leads solid leads to pursue, the case soon went cold.

In 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation submitted forensic evidence to Othram in The Woodlands, Texas. Othram scientists developed a suitable DNA extract from the evidence and then used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the murdered young girl. After successfully completing the profile, the DNA profile was delivered to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. more

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