LAS VEGAS – Investigators in Nevada announced Wednesday that a woman whose remains were found in 1978 has been identified.
A decomposed body of a woman was found in a garment bag in a remote area of northern Nevada in 1978, according to The Associated Press. The woman remained unidentified for 45 years as the case went cold.
Nevada State Police on Wednesday announced that the woman has been identified after DNA testing. According to the AP, the woman was identified as Florence Charleston from Cleveland, Ohio. Charleston was believed to be in her late 60s and moved to Portland, Oregon just before she died.
Charleston’s remains were found in Oct. 1978 in Imlay, Nevada which is about two hours north of Reno, according to WHIO.
Her remains were found inside a garment bag with women’s clothing, Pershing County Sheriff’s deputies said, according to the news outlet. An autopsy was done at the time that told investigators that the woman was middle-aged but could not determine a cause of death.
The following spring, Nevada State Police were called in to assist. They tried digital facial reconstruction, and checked dental records and other missing persons cases, WHIO reported.
In March, police worked with Othram Inc. which is a laboratory that specializes in forensic genealogy analysis, the news outlet reported. DNA was taken from the remains and they built out a DNA profile. Investigators from that were able to get into contact with Charleston’s nieces in Ohio.
Diane Liggitt was 18 years old when she learned that her aunt left for the Pacific Northwest with a new boyfriend in the early 1970s from her father, according to the AP. The family never heard from her again as the decades passed.
Liggitt told the AP that she had spent years wondering what happened to her aunt.
“Was she happy, or not? Was she safe?” Liggitt said, according to the AP. “All these questions I had, and it turns out she was dead.”
The investigation into Charleston’s death is ongoing, the AP reported.