Sandra Young : “Sandra Young’s remains identified after 50 years”

Officials in Oregon have finally solved a decades-old mystery by identifying the remains of a high school student who disappeared in the late 1960s. The body, found over 50 years ago, has been confirmed to be that of Sandra Young, a student at Grant High School in Portland.

**Discovery of the Remains**

The remains were initially discovered in 1970, buried in a shallow grave by a Boy Scout troop leader. At that time, the body was fully skeletonized and accompanied by a black curly wig. Police determined that foul play was involved due to trauma to the body. Despite efforts to identify the remains through DNA testing and database searches, no matches were found until innovative DNA techniques were utilized in 2018.

**Breakthrough in DNA Analysis**

In 2018, the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s office received a grant to conduct advanced DNA testing on unsolved cases. Through collaboration with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA Snapshot Report was created, revealing physical characteristics of the individual. Subsequent genetic genealogy reports provided leads on the person’s ancestry but faced challenges in identifying the individual.

**Family Connection**

In a surprising turn of events in January 2023, an individual uploaded their DNA to GEDMatch, a genetic genealogy database. The site identified the person as a potential family member of the unidentified remains. Further investigation and family interviews led to the confirmation that the remains belonged to Sandra Young.

**Closure for the Family**

Portland Police Bureau detective Heidi Helwig spoke with Young’s sister, confirming the identity of the remains. Interviews also uncovered the tragic history of the family, including the loss of another daughter to gun violence in the 1970s. The positive identification of Young’s remains marks the beginning of an ongoing investigation into her death.

**Final Words**

Dr. Nici Vance of the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office expressed the importance of closure for the family after 54 years. The collaboration between family members, detectives, and forensic experts showcases the power of innovative DNA technology in solving cold cases. The efforts to identify Sandra Young serve as a reminder of the dedication and perseverance in seeking justice and closure for victims and their families.

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