Lots of my family members are fascinated by genealogy. I am glad they enjoy it since I get to enjoy the fruits of their labors. But these volunteers are doing a lot more....
On July 17, 1982, a woman’s body was found in a meadow in the mountains that run along the border between California and Nevada, not far from Lake Tahoe.
For more than 36 years the local sheriff's department tried to identify her. They gave out her description to the media and searched diligently to no avail.
But recently the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office announced her name: Mary Edith Silvani, born Sept. 29, 1948. Detectives also believe they now know who killed her.
"These two puzzles of identity were solved with genetic genealogy, a technique that puts a name to DNA with the help of relatives on genealogy sites. Over the past year, the method has been used to advance dozens of cold cases. This is the first time officials have announced in one fell swoop that the technique has been used to identify an adult victim’s body as well as the person’s killer."
Volunteer sleuths were the key to finding the identities, a real life detective story. Using DNA and genealogical records they built out family trees and checked out all of the links, finding infidelity and adoption along the trails but still ending up with the answers.