Thousands of unidentified human remains are at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office and one non-profit is trying to identify two of them.Through investigative genetic genealogy, Cold Case Initiative funds this type of testing for genealogists to trace back and organize family trees.A woman was found near Mt. Lemmon in 1972. Experts believe she had been deceased for about five years before she was discovered.“There’s still a piece of bone, that’s probably a size of a dice,” said Forensic anthropologist, Dr. Bruce Anderson.Dr. Anderson holds a piece of Jane Doe, 1972’s bone.He said they believe she was 16 to 27 years old when her body was found near Summerhaven.She was found with multiple belongings including cigarettes, lipstick, a bus ticket and various clothing items.But what they couldn’t find was her name.Her DNA has not been a match in the database.“They’ve not matched in decades, they’ve not matched their own, which means they’re not in the database,” said Dr. Anderson.Another case gone cold is John Doe, 1981.He was found in the desert near E. Speedway Blvd. with burgundy pants and a burgundy and white long-sleeved shirt.Keeping records of these descriptions is important and Dr. Anderson says as decades pass, new technology brings new hope.Investigative genetic genealogy is used to create family trees through DNA testing.“They’re not identifying to a person, but they are identifying to a lineage of brothers and sisters, cousins, Mom and Dad, and children,” said Dr. Anderson.The only problem is the cost.This type of testing and research can be thousands of dollars.Cold Case Initiative is a non-profit working to fund these two Pima County cases.“We never use the word closure, but we want to provide them the answers,” said Thomas McAndrew, the Director of Law Enforcement Relations for Innovative Forensic Investigations.Former police officers and detectives, Chris McMullin and Thomas McAndrew said giving a family answers is life-changing.“I had worked on a case for 19 years and now, you know, I had a prayer card with her in the real name on it, so it does make a difference,” said Chris McMullin, President of Cold Case Initiative.John Doe 1981 remains at the medical examiner’s office, but Jane Doe 1972 is buried at the Pima County Cemetery with many other unidentified graves.But, hope lives on for families wondering what happened to their loved ones.“Somebody once told me that when you give somebody their name back, you’re pouring their soul back in,” said McMullin.
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