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New technology joins science and law enforcement to solve cold case murders

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POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Southeast Idaho is no stranger to cold case murders. New revelations that concluded the Angie Dodge case is among the only such murder cases that have ever been solved. There are at least 48 other cases that are a complete mystery to investigators.

However, with new forensic technology, investigators and scientists are teaming up to resolve the unsolved.

Dr. Christian Peterson, an Idaho State University professor and forensic anthropologist, has been working on an unsolved murder in Clark County for years. He is assisted by Amy Michaels, a former ISU professor as well as Clark County deputies.

The mystery began in 1979 when a family found the remains of a headless torso found in a bag buried only 18 inches deep. Other remains were found more than a decade later when an 11-year-old girl found a mummified hand. Parts of the body were given to ISU for research in 1991. It has been a mystery ever since.

Peterson and other researchers are now raising money for the DNA Doe Project which uses genetic information to identify the victim and, hopefully, lead to a possible suspect.

“For the longest time, there was no interest in the remains. Then the DNA thing became a reality. The technology was there to extract DNA from something that old,” Peterson said.

That DNA was extracted from bones, and that’s when detectives reopened the case and sent the samples to experts for analysis.

“They will be able to break it into meaningful units, standard units we take from anyone’s DNA," Peterson said. "They’ll look for those pieces, then they’ll use it to compare it with various genealogical databases that they have access to and that’s really the hope, to find a relative.”

The DNA Doe Project is asking people to register on and share results from 23andMe, as well as, in hopes of finding someone who could be a match.

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