Innovative Forensic Aids in Identification of 1985 New Mexico Cold Case Subject
Innovative Forensic Investigations (IFI) partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Astrea Forensics, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Examiner.
Emporia, Va. (August 2022) – Innovative Forensic Investigations, an investigative genetic genealogy firm providing services to law enforcement nationwide, were part of a team announcing the identity of a 32-year-old unidentified decedent found in the desert area of Doña Ana County, New Mexico in a press conference today. The decedent was identified as 16-year-old Dorothy Harrison of Wichita, Kansas. Innovative Forensic provided the genetic genealogy in collaboration with Astrea Forensics, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office (DASO), and the Medical Examiner’s Office of New Mexico.
Sheriff Kim Stewart spoke to reporters thanking the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for providing resources to aid in the identification. Prior to 1990, no national database existed for missing children, making it more difficult for law enforcement to share information on missing children or unidentified decedents. Jane Doe 1985 waited 37 years to have DNA extracted from her left femur bone and sent to Astrea Forensic for DNA analysis using a technology that can use the “best data from the worst samples for use in genetic genealogy”. The DNA results were submitted to Innovative Forensic to build out a genealogical family tree. Innovative Forensic identified Jane Doe through their state-of-the-art genetic genealogy technology.
In the spring of 1985, three hunters found the remains of Jane Doe under black plastic in a rural desert area off County Road E-73, near the Upham exit in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The area was known to be frequented by ranchers and hunters. She was determined to have been left for 3 to 6 months due to the severe decomposition of the remains. Jane Doe was assumed to be between the ages of 16 and 20 years of age, slender build, and was approximately 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches tall. She was found to have a predilection for the color pink and appeared by all standards to have been healthy and well cared for.
“Jane Doe has a team to thank for giving her, her identity back,” Jennifer Moore, CEO and founder of Innovative Forensics commented. “Without NCMEC so many of these children would be lost to the past, their efforts to keep the cases open and provide resources to law enforcement are indisputable. The Medical Examiner’s office and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, all kept hope alive that this day would come. Our team at Innovative Forensic worked with all departments to bring a resolution to Jane Doe’s identity.”
“I’ve spent my entire career working to be able to give answers to victims of crime regardless of how much time has passed,” said Sheriff Kim Stewart. “I’m incredibly proud of my team at the Sheriff’s Office for their tenacity and dedication to finding answers for our cold cases. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dorothy’s family as they process this news.”
DASO sends a special thank you to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Astrea Forensics, and Innovative Forensics Investigations who helped make today’s announcement possible.
If you have information about Dorothy Harrison or believe you encountered her between July 25, 1984, and the time of her homicide, contact the DASO at 575-525-1911.
About Innovative Forensic Investigations:
Innovative Forensic Investigations is an investigative genetic genealogy and private investigation firm providing services to agencies, working collaboratively through the entire lifecycle of the case, from submission to conclusion. Unique in the industry, Innovative Forensic Investigations combines years of expertise in law enforcement, forensics, legal, investigations, family & victim advocacy, and investigative genetic genealogy. The dynamic skill set of the team can generate new leads and fresh perspectives in your investigations.
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