ALCONA COUNTY, MI – Investigators from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Alpena Post and the Alcona County Sheriff’s Department are seeking information from the public to help identify human remains found in Northern Michigan 23 years ago.
A bow hunter discovered the human skeletal remains in October 1994 while walking in a wooded area off Bamfield Road, between Curtisville and Alcona Dam, in Alcona County. The Alcona County Sheriff’s Department was the lead investigating agency with the MSP crime lab assisting in the recovery of the remains from the scene.
Michigan State University anthropologists have determined the remains are that of a female 30-50 years old and approximately 4’ 7” to 5’ 6” tall. The woman was likely of European ancestry, commonly referred to as Caucasian, but no population group should be excluded. Evidence of a fracture to the skull indicates she may have experienced some type of trauma at or around the time of her death. The remains may have been in the wooded area for up to four years before being discovered.
As DNA technology advanced, so has the investigation. A mitochondrial DNA sample was collected by scientists at the University of North Texas Health Science Center for Human Identification and a full DNA profile has been uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database. A case profile has been posted on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database.
Several artistic renderings have been done by forensic artists and are being released to help prompt tips from the public. The following techniques were used:
- First image (left) – Two-dimensional sketch completed by a MSP forensic artist. This was drawn in in graphite and used anthropological landmarks on the skull to give a glimpse of what the woman may have looked like when alive.
- Second image (middle) – Digital rendering completed by a forensic artist from Louisiana State University’s Missing Persons Molecular and Medical Genetics Department. This technique was aided by a 3D scan of the skull.
- Third image (right) – 3D clay model of the skull completed by a FBI forensic artist. This technique is much like the two-dimensional approach, but uses clay applied to the cast skull.