Woman Who Was Found Dead in the 90s Has Been Identified

Woman Who Was Found Dead in the 90s Has Been Identified

(RepublicanPress.org) – Investigators say they have identified the body of a woman who first went missing in Indiana over three decades ago. According to a report from Allen County Coroner Dr. Jon Brandenberger, advancements in forensic genetic genealogy played a key role in helping authorities to crack the case.

Brandenberger confirmed that he had positively identified the remains of Tabetha Ann Murlin during a press conference on February 15. A construction worker located the Fort Wayne woman’s remains wrapped in a blanket in the flooded basement of a local home in May 1992.

Forensic investigators were able to determine that Murlin was pregnant at the time of her death. The exact date she went missing remains unclear, but authorities suspect that she died sometime between late 1991 and 1992. They were unable to identify the remains at the time, and the case eventually went cold.

Officials decided to reopen the case in 2016. They began by exhuming her body in early 2017 to collect tissue samples for DNA analysis. Investigators uploaded the resulting genetic profile to a database, including information related to offenders, but failed to identify a match.

Then, in January of this year, the DNA profile was uploaded to a genealogical database. The sample matched information stored on four family members: her father, deceased mother, and two aunts. Investigators were finally able to confirm the body belonged to Murlin after they ran a DNA sample from her father through the system.

Members of Murlin’s family recently attended a press conference announcing the identification of her remains. Local Fox affiliate WFFT reported that the deceased woman’s brother, Robert Bowers Jr., held up a photograph of his sister during the briefing. Calling it, “Tabetha’s Day,” he expressed appreciation for finally receiving answers about his sister’s disappearance.

Bowers started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her burial later that day. He said the money collected would help the family pay for a headstone.

Investigators estimate that Murlin would have been 23 years old at the time the worker found her body — nearly 32 years ago. Officials have yet to determine what caused the young woman’s death or the manner in which she died. They continue to investigate, and hope to eventually track down enough evidence to close the case.

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