The mystery of the unidentified woman began when a family hiking in western Colorado stumbled across the remains on July 7, 1994, in the Uncompahgre Plateau around Windy Point, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office said.
The remains became known as “Windy Point Jane Doe,” and would remain so for the next 28 years until investigators cracked part of the cold case on April 19.
Using advanced familial DNA analysis, investigators identified the “Windy Point Jane Doe” as Susan Hoppes, a woman who was reported missing from Pierce County, Washington, on Aug. 9, 1993, Sheriff Gene Lillard said in a written statement. Hoppes’ death is being investigated as a homicide.
Montrose County Coroner Dr. Thomas M. Canfield notified the Hoppes family about the breakthrough.
“It is truly remarkable that technology was able to give closure to the family of Susan Hoppes and to all that was involved in the case,” Lillard said. “It has always been a goal to determine who she was and what actually happened to her.”
Now that the remains have been identified, investigators are working to uncover the circumstances that led to Hoppes’ death.
The sheriff’s office said Commander Ted Valerio was sent to Washington state to gather information on Hoppes and to meet with detectives and private investigators.