DNA Leads to Break in 1980's Missing Persons Case

A missing person's case from the 1980's was recently solved with the help of DNA evidence. 

Nancy Jo Scamurra was just 14-years-old when she disappeared from her home near Buffalo. The year was 1984. Now 28 years later, police know what happened to her. "She was murdered, dismembered, decapitated, and disposed of," says Gene Sullivan, the Oswego County Undersheriff.

Two weeks after her disappearance, a torso was discovered in Lake Ontario near Oswego. But it took 28 years for authorities to link the two cases.

"Law enforcement in Oswego basically had these remains and no way to put a connection to any historical missing persons cases that they had. No way to connect the dots in this situation," says Ed Suk. He is the Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NY Branch.

Now, DNA testing has confirmed a match. Suk says because of advances in technology we may soon see more and more cases like this, closed.

"We've seen a skyrocketing in the technology and skyrocketing in the use of DNA for a variety of situations. But when it comes to identifying remains and connecting cases from different law enforcement jurisdictions nationally and internationally, dna is key," Suk adds.

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