Woman’s remains discovered off Highway 135 identified as Pamela Darlene Young
Twenty years after her partial skeletal remains were located by construction workers off Highway 135 in Gregg County, Texas, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and the DNA Doe Project have determined that her name was Pamela Darlene Young.
Pamela Young of Arlington, Texas, died approximately two years before her partial skeleton was found, and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner determined she had an unrepaired cleft palate. Despite this clue to her identity, investigators soon ran out of leads to follow and the case went cold.
Early in 2020, Lieutenant Eddie Hope reached out to the DNA Doe Project to begin the process to use investigative genetic genealogy to identify Ms Young, who was known as Gregg County Jane Doe 2002. A DNA profile was developed from a molar and was uploaded to GEDmatch Pro, a database that allows law enforcement to compare DNA profiles of Jane and John Doe unidentified remains to those of people who have uploaded their profiles to the public side of the database at GEDmatch.com. The genealogy in this case was extremely complex, and it took almost two years for the experienced volunteers from the DNA Doe Project to narrow down the family tree to identify Pamela Young. A DNA sample from her daughter confirmed the identification.
After a case review was conducted by another team from the DNA Doe Project, team members working on Gregg County Jane Doe were able to use the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup to significantly narrow their focus and ultimately identify Ms Young. “There was a lot of endogamy in the family, which made the case much more difficult,” said Kevin Lord, team co-leader.
“Communications with a few distant DNA relatives gave us crucial information we could not have learned from a paper trail, and we are so grateful for their assistance,” added Megan Street Pasika, team co-leader.
The DNA Doe Project wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the groups and individuals who helped solve this case: the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, who entrusted the case to the DNA Doe Project; Astrea Forensics for extraction of DNA from a tooth; HudsonAlpha Discovery for sequencing; Kevin Lord of Saber Investigations for bioinformatics; GEDmatch Pro and FTDNA for providing their databases; our generous donors who contributed to this case, including Adept Cosmetics; and DDP’s dedicated teams of volunteer investigative genetic genealogists who work tirelessly to bring victims home.
About the DNA Doe Project
The DNA Doe Project, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to identify John and Jane Does and return them to their families. The genealogy research is pro bono, but the organization relies on donations to fund lab costs when agencies cannot afford them. To date DDP has made over 70 identifications. Discover more at https://dnadoeproject.org.