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DNA aids in effort to identify child's remains found near Oregon rest area

Parabon Nanolabs has been helping Oregon investigators with DNA work on a number of unknown identity cases within the past few months.

Posted: Jul 1, 2021 3:06 PM

GRAND RONDE, Ore. — Investigators are still working to identify a child whose body was discovered near a rest area in Lincoln County last year, and DNA evidence may hold the key for gathering enough identifying features to figure out who she was.

Oregon State Police launched an investigation on December 10 after recovering the girl's remains next to a rest area in the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor. Her body was inside of a duffle bag secreted within the woods.

Because of the condition of the girl's remains, little was known about her race, appearance, or other features, though investigators released an approximate image in January. OSP and the state Medical Examiner's Office contracted with a specialty lab, Parabon Nanolabs, to get more information from the girl's DNA.

The Virginia-based Parabon Nanolabs recently helped investigators identify the body of a boy found dead in the mountains east of Ashland back in 1963, and has also been enlisted to help with the case of an as-yet unidentified victim of the Almeda Fire in September.

OSP said that the DNA extraction done by Parabon helped find some additional details about the girl, and the agency has decided to release the following new details in hopes that the public can help:

  • Age: 7 – 9
  • Eye color: Hazel / Brown
  • Hair color: Brown / Black
  • Skin color: Light Brown / Fair with no freckles
  • Race: She has been identified as mostly Caucasian with some Central American ancestry
  • She was wearing a pull-up diaper

Investigators have been working with the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) since the discovery of the child’s remains. Over the past six months, OSP said, detectives have definitively ruled out more than 60 potentially missing kids between NCMEC and tips from the public.

"While investigators continue to work in partnership with NCMEC, there is a strong likelihood this child has not been reported missing," OSP said in a statement. "Investigators would like the public to know, we are already considering all children listed on the NCMEC website and therefore, there is no need to contact the Oregon State Police to highlight those names."

This child would likely not have been seen since November 2020. Anyone with information that might help investigators in identifying her should call 800-442-0776 or *OSP (*677).

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