Authorities in Pennsylvania have identified a set of human remains as those of a Wilkes-Barre teenage girl who went missing more than 50 years ago, state police said.
In an Oct. 4 press release, Pennsylvania State Police said the remains were discovered in Luzerne County on Nov. 17, 2012, by people digging for relics in a trash-filled depression in the area of a former coal-mining operation in Newport Township.
They were determined to be those of “a female, estimate to be in her mid-teens to early 20’s,” the release said.
Now, more than a half-century later, the remains have been identified as Joan Marie Dymond, who was 14 years old when she disappeared from Andover Street Park on June 25, 1969.
Upon further analysis of the remains, it has been determined that there was suspicion of “foul play” in the death of the victim. According to lab results, there’s a high probability that she died around the same time she went missing.
“We never stopped pursuing answers, and this investigation remains very active,” Captain Patrick Dougherty, commanding officer of PSP Troop P, said in the statement.
“After 53 years, the family of Joan Marie Dymond very much deserves closure. We will do everything in our power to see that they have it.”
Police are now asking for the public’s help to provide any information that might lead to the individual responsible for her death.
Genetic Genealogy Testing Solves Mystery
Authorities say a recent analysis of DNA evidence using genetic genealogy, which was funded by the Luzerne Foundation, made it possible to link the remains to Dymond.
Initially, a criminal investigation unit at a station in Shickshinny submitted the victim’s DNA profile to national databases for comparison to other profiles on record, but the effort yielded no match results.
In March, the remains were submitted to Othram Inc. to undergo genetic genealogy testing. Othram is a U.S.-based corporation that specializes in forensic genealogy to resolve unsolved murders.
The private corporation “provided troopers with possible family members” who then sought DNA samples from possible relatives.
“When those samples were compared to the DNA profile of the remains found in 2012, lab results received earlier this month indicated the remains of Jane ‘Newport’ Doe are the remains of Joan Marie Dymond,” state police said. The remains were previously known only as Jane “Newport” Doe.
Pennsylvania State Police said they “worked with and received extraordinary assistance” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, multiple forensic anthropologists, Beta Analytic, Inc., and Othram, Inc.