Researchers and scientists using specifically-developed forensic science techniques have finally identified an arm and hand found buried in an Alaskan glacier 60 years ago. It took nine years of cutting edge DNA and fingerprint research and genealogical studies to identify the remains of a Roanoke, Va., native. The 1948 plane crash killed all of its passengers – Merchant Marines returning from China. In 1999, the crash site was located within a glacier, and the preserved arm and hand were discovered. A fact sheet is available with more detailed information.
A teleconference will be held tomorrow August 15 2008, at George Washington University with researchers and experts in Alaska and D.C. Present will be: Edward Robinson, prof at GWU who did the fingerprint indentification, Odile Loreille, PhD from AFDIL who did the DNA indentification, Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, the forensic genealogist who found the family reference for DNA comparison, and Kevin McGregor, one of the pilots who discovered the arm and hand. McGregor will have with him the ring found close to the hand and parts of the plane crash.
NPR did a 45 minute interview with Geoff Bleakley, Historian at the Wrangell Saint Elias National Park, in August 1999 when the remains were first discovered.