Woman Found Dead on Lake Michigan Shore in 1997 Identified Through DNA Analysis

The woman’s body washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan in 1997.

JEFF HAYNES/AFP / Getty Images

After more than a quarter of a century, authorities identified the remains of a young woman whose body washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan.

This Monday, Michigan State Police advertisement what Dorothy Lynn (Thyng) Ricker, 26, of Chicago, accidentally drowned before her naked body was discovered on October 27, 1997.

Police said the woman’s only identifying item when her body was discovered was a single earring, the only lead police had for years.

In September 2020, detectives from the MSP Cadillac Post and the MSP Missing Persons Coordination Unit re-examined the case and Ricker’s remains exhumed for advanced DNA testingthe police said.

In July 2021, a possible match was found to the Thyng family in Acton, Maine, and authorities obtained DNA samples from a possible brother and a daughter of the victim who resided in Chicago, police said.

Due to the “degraded” status of the bone samples, further DNA testing was needed for positive identification, according to MPS. But in December 2022, the Center for DNA Diagnostics and Intermountain Forensics were able to confirm that the remains belonged to Rickerwho had last been seen in Wisconsin on October 2, 1997, police said.

“At the time, Ms. Ricker was sitting on a park bench on the Lake Michigan beach,” police said. “The officers spoke briefly with her. She mentioned that she was from Chicago and that she was ‘enjoying the lakefront and the sun’”.

In addition to genetic genealogy, members of the DNA Doe Project also they combed through old newspapers and public records to look up the family name.

“Newspaper articles placed Dorothy in the area where her body was found,” DNA Doe Project team leader Gwen Knapp said in a statement. announcement.

“The family had placed a headstone for Dorothy that confirmed a presumed date of death several weeks before her body was found in Michigan,” it adds.

“Combined with genetics, these clues gave us confidence that we had identified Dorothy Lynn Ricker,” Knapp added. “The team is very happy to be able to return her name to Dorothy and we hope that the family can close the process.”

This case is similar to that ofThe Boy in the Box“, a little boy who was recently identified thanks to a DNA analysis.

It was in 1957, when the boy was discovered wrapped in a blanket inside a cardboard box, exhibiting evidence “of recent and past traumas,” according to the Philadelphia police.

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· They reveal the identity of the “Boy in the box”, a little boy who was murdered 65 years ago in Philadelphia
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