Improvements in DNA technological innovation and aged-fashioned detective perform have led to the identification of a girl whose terribly decomposed human body was discovered in a field in Hazel Dell in 2004.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Business declared Friday that the woman has been discovered as Donna Lee Swindell, 57. Her family was notified previous thirty day period by Randon Walker, who had worked as a homicide detective with the Clark County Sheriff’s Business when the human body was identified and has considering the fact that joined the Clinical Examiner’s Office as a demise investigator.

“It was gratifying and sad,” Walker mentioned in the assertion. “Sad that it had been this prolonged.”

The scenario started on Nov. 6, 2004, when two youths found out the overall body of a center-aged woman in a brushy, wooded part of a ton close to the Goodwill shop on Northeast 78th Road.

Investigators stated the entire body was totally clothed but had been at the web page for a range of months, maybe months. An autopsy was done, but a trigger or fashion of loss of life could not be identified.

If you need assistance

Relatives members of lacking individuals can enter information and facts about their beloved kinds into the National Lacking and Unknown Particular person Technique, also regarded as NamUs, and lookup the program for studies of unidentified individuals. Clark County at the moment has information about 3 identified men and women in NamUs. Find out a lot more on the NamUs web-site, at

As a homicide detective, Walker worked the situation but was stymied by the technologies of the time and a path that experienced long gone chilly. He could only ascertain the woman’s peak, her race and her approximate age. DNA samples harvested from the remains did not match any samples in a FBI database.

Advancements in DNA know-how and forensic anthropology gave Walker a different prospect at the situation just after he joined the medical examiner’s office environment in 2018. He was assigned the cold scenario a year back and promptly recognized it from his past investigation, according to a statement from the Medical Examiner’s Business.

The office environment submitted a DNA sample from the stays to a DNA know-how business in Virginia that also offers forensic genealogy expert services. A staffer there was capable to use that material to predict the woman’s ancestry and review it to folks in on-line genealogy databases.

The search turned up an ancestral url to two brothers and a long checklist of individuals who could be the woman’s mothers and fathers. Walker put in months crossing off hundreds of names from the checklist while still investigating present-day instances.

“Anytime I experienced a instant, whenever I experienced a direct to operate down, I was seeking to reunite this lady with her relatives,” Walker reported.

Making use of governing administration research engines, community ancestry sites, relationship licenses and loss of life certificates, Walker narrowed his search to Swindell. He identified that her driver’s license hadn’t been renewed in November 2004 and that all activity joined to her Social Security account experienced stopped a few of months prior to the body was uncovered.

He sought attainable spouse and children users in Lane County, Ore., with the help of Dr. Jeanne McLaughlin, a professor at the University of Oregon who gathered a DNA sample from a household member for comparison.

On Nov. 24, Walker been given affirmation that the unknown lady discovered 17 many years in the past was Donna Lee Swindell and was equipped to reunite the female with her household.

“Everybody justifies the human dignity of being cared for and returned to their relatives,” he explained.