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After 11 Years, CA Cops Make Positive ID Of Badly Decomposed 'Jane Doe'

For 11 long years, officials in San Mateo County, California have been at a loss on tying up the loose ends in a rather bizarre case. On June 6, 2006, the badly decomposed body of a woman was found by a passerby along a service trail off Highway 1.

The cause of death was indeterminate, and they were unsuccessful in their efforts to make a positive identification. For internal purposes, the woman was referred to as 'Jane Doe 06-03.'

The coroner’s office would go through all the usual steps to try to figure things out. At one point, they thought they had positive identification based on fingerprints, but that lead quickly fizzled out.

"On November 30, 2006, Jane Doe 06-03's fingerprints were matched to an arrest record from January 27, 2006 handled by CHP-San Francisco," according to the coroner's report. "The name on the arrest record, 'Sam Smith,' was an alias and suspected to be fictitious."

Coroner Robert Foucrault notes that other leads have popped up through the years as well, but they would all prove to be dead ends as well.

"We had many hits on this case throughout the years, but there was never a positive match," Foucrault explained.

As Pacifica Patch shares, that all changed this week. A positive match was made through the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The woman has been identified as Christine Martell Kuhn. Amazingly, the ID was only made by chance.

Back in 2014, the woman’s daughter was on the lookout for her missing mother, who hadn’t been seen since 2005 in the state of Washington. She would submit a genetic sample, and a “mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profile was completed and submitted to CODIS," according to the coroner’s office.

"She had no idea where her mom was so she reported her missing, and part of that process is to submit a DNA sample," Foucrault added.

It took some time, but a positive match was finally found. The badly decomposed body was that of the woman’s mother. It’s a heartbreaking turn of events for the woman that was on the lookout for her mother, but at least she now has some closure, as does the rest of Kuhn’s family.

"So our DNA sample was in the system back in 2006, but [the daughter's sample] was not there yet," Foucrault continued. "[Kuhn's husband] was surprised and saddened and also relieved that now he has closure; he knows now that his wife is deceased."

While they have finally positively identified the body, that doesn’t tie up all of the loose ends in this strange case.

"We will never know [how she died]," Foucrault added.

This is a story that seems tailor-made for an investigative or dramatic series, as it’s downright amazing what can be accomplished with DNA samples. That said, it’s still incredibly chilling to know that there doesn’t appear to be any way of knowing how the woman died to begin with. For a body to be that badly decomposed, it obviously had to have either been there for some time, or dumped there later. While one door has been closed on the case, there remain a ton of unanswered questions about not only her death, but her disappearance as well.

Source: Patch
Photo: Patch, YouTube

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