Thanks to a process called investigative genetic genealogy, the woman was identified November 10 as Tammy Terrell. The 17-year-old’s body was found October 5, 1980, according to a news release from police in Henderson, in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Investigative genetic genealogy is a process that uses DNA testing “to determine relationships between individuals and identify possible relatives of the unidentified victim,” the release said.
“Detectives then use the information to contact potential relatives in an attempt to identify family members have gone missing,” the release said.
Tammy was last seen at a restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico, on September 28, 1980, with an unknown White man and woman, “possibly planning to leave New Mexico for an unknown destination in California,” the release said.
Her body was found one week later by a passing driver in the desert area near Arroyo Grande Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway, the release said. In the 41 years since her disappearance, police said “all attempts to identify her to this point had been unsuccessful.”
The investigation into Tammy’s death is ongoing, police said.
News about Tammy’s case follows a Tuesday announcement that Las Vegas police used DNA testing and genealogical research to solve the 42-year-old homicide case
of a teen girl who died in 1979.