Cold Case Murder Investigation Goes High Tech With DNA, Cops Release New Sketch

New Castle County Police Cold Case detectives continue their investigation into the identity of an unknown female whose remains were discovered in a drainage ditch on Old Union Church Road, Townsend, De in 1977.

Cold Case Detectives recently sought the services of Parabon Nano Labs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law enforcement agencies use the company’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service(Snapshot) to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations.


On April 10, 2018, the Division of Forensic Science obtained a CT scan of the victim’s skull which was sent to Parabon Labs along with DNA extracted from the victim’s bones. Using DNA obtained from the victim’s remains Snapshot produced trait predictions for the unidentified victim. Individual predictions were made for the victim’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite was produced depicting what the victim may have looked like at 48 years old with a body-mass index(BMI) of 22. These default values were used because age and BMI cannot be determined from DNA.

Anyone with information on the identity of the unknown female can contact Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333 or by e-mailing Detective or by calling 302-395-2781, or by e-mailing Ret. S/Sgt or by calling 302-395-8216, For more information on this investigation, please visit NCCPD.COM.

Previous Release


The New Castle County Police Department needs your help in identifying this woman.

Victim: Unidentified white female approximately 45 years old

Murdered on: May-June 1977

Location: Old Union Church Road, Townsend, Delaware.

Investigation Details: The victim’s badly decomposing body was located by a passerby on the side of the road in a drainage ditch.

The victim is described as a white female, approximately 45 years of age, 5’3” to 5’6” with blond or light brown hair.

The victim’s death has been ruled a homicide.

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Cold Case Homicide Squad directly:

Det. Brian Shahan: (302) 395-2781 or Glenn Davis: (302) 395-8216

You can submit a tip via our website at Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, visit their website, or visit us on Facebook at New Castle County Police Department. Citizens who currently have the smartphone application are encouraged to use the “submit tip” tab to submit tips. Select a topic by using the “drop down” and complete the tip by “clicking”submit. The New Castle County Police Smartphone Application is free to download and available for all IPhone and Android smartphones.

Image Credits: NCCPD

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