Families of some missing women submit DNA to help ID skeletal remains

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police say the families of some woman reported missing have submitted DNA samples to help police identify three skeletal remains found on a property in D.C.

“We have looked through our missing persons reports and we have some missing persons from that area,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told WHUR. “We have gathered DNA from some of those families.”

Newsham said the genetic samples and femur bones from the remains have been sent to an FBI lab for analysis.

“What we have been able to determine so far is that the remains are at least 1-year-old and they could be much older than that,” Newsham said. “In all likelihood, they probably are.”

The Washington Post reported Friday that the medical examiner’s office told police that examiners think the women were at least between 30 and 60 years old.

Police are also working to see if they can determine the race of victims based on their remains as well. Newsham said investigators have been able to determine that two of the victims were of African decent, but one of the cases is still unclear.

The bones were found in April. Contractors renovating a building found the first set, while the remains of the other women were later found in a shallow grave behind the property.

The case was ruled a homicide investigation earlier in May. Two had been shot; one suffered blunt force trauma.

Newsham said police are trying to figure out who could have access to the building in order to bury the bodies there.

“To find it in the crawl space of the building, that’s where your investigation would naturally begin, because someone had access to the building,” Newsham said.

“What we’re learning is depending on how many years you go back is that building was open for a period of time. People from the neighborhood would go into that building without having a key.”

WTOP’s Patrick Roth contributed to this report.

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