(RepublicanNews.org) – A forensic DNA investigation finally uncovered the identity of Gwenn Marie Story, a 19-year-old homicide victim whose body was discovered 44 years ago in an open field in Las Vegas, Nevada. A man walking nearby the field found her body and called the police, who pronounced her dead at the scene. The County Coroner’s Office quickly determined the cause of death as a homicide.
The field where she was found was once the site of a casino named Sahara so she was given the moniker “Sahara Sue Doe” as a placeholder name until she could be identified. Unidentified homicide victims are typically referred to as Jane or John Doe, usually for a brief time before investigators can get a positive identification from the family.
Story left her Cincinnati, Ohio home in the summer of 1979 with two male friends, reportedly to track down her biological father in California. The two friends returned, telling the family she had stayed in Las Vegas. Her body was found in August of that year. Her family never heard from her again after she left.
Though the case was assigned to the Homicide Cold Case section, little progress was made until investigators requested a forensic investigation. The process involved gathering DNA from the family of missing people. The process started in September 2022 when police began working with a DNA analysis company called Othram, which helped the cold case investigators put together a genetic genealogy profile.
Each person’s DNA is unique enough that DNA experts can determine family members from genetic samples. Similar analysis has been used to rule out accused defendants or to link a perpetrator to a specific crime.
Cold case investigators are continuing to look into the case. They are asking the public for any information, including details about the two friends who left Story in Las Vegas in 1979. If you have any information about Story or the two men, call 702-828-3521 or leave a tip anonymously at 702-385-5555.
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