A Body Found 31 Years Ago is ID’d in Cold Case

The news services have been full of stories lately about using a combination of DNA plus the GEDmatch online genealogy database to identify criminals in crimes that occurred years ago, the so-called “cold cases.” See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=dna+%22cold+cases%22&t=h_&atb=v73-3_q&ia=web for a list of hundreds of such news articles.

However, the use of DNA plus GEDmatch is not limited to criminal investigations. Now researchers are finding it is a very useful tool for identifying previously unidentified bodies, some of which were crime victims and others that simply passed away without any identification.

One recent case involved a young woman whose body was found in Anaheim, California 31 years ago. She was identified this week with the help of volunteers using the same technique that identified the suspected Golden State Killer.

After many failed attempts, experts on Tuesday matched the DNA of a body found in 1987 with that of Tracey Coreen Hobson, who lived in the area at the time, by uploading the biological data into a website called GEDmatch.com, said Colleen Fitzpatrick, co-executive director of the volunteer-run nonprofit DNA Doe Project.

You can read more in an article by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times web site at: https://tinyurl.com/y6wnbctg.


There’s one glaring error in the article: “GEDmatch is used by companies to compare DNA data, but the public can’t submit their own.”

Liked by 1 person

Thanks, Dick, for reporting this. It is fascinating what they can do. Hopefully this will present some closure to family members and maybe police can figure out who killed this poor woman.


With the passage of 100 years since the events of World War I, among the other centennial commemorative activitiee, a number of genetic genealogists cooperated with efforts to use DNA to identify the remains of many soldiers killed in that war whose names were previously unknown in order to allow their graves to be properly marked. If only this tool had been available during the lifetime of the parents, spouses, siblings and children of these men, who never had the peace of knowing peace their loved ones were found and laid to rest in peace among their fellow soldiers.


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