NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — Human remains that were discovered in Nevada County in 1993 have finally been identified.
In August of this year, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a DNA match made between the 1993 remains case and Joanne Dolly Burmer, a person reported missing in Nevada County in 1973.
The sheriff’s office said Burmer was 25 years old when she was reported missing on March 8, 1973. Burmer’s friends told deputies they dropped her off at Highway 20 and Excelsior Point Road to go snowshoeing to an acquaintance’s residence three miles away on Feb. 27, 1973. More than a week later, she was reported missing.
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Twenty years later, on May 30, 1993, the sheriff’s office said a man found what he believed was part of a human skull while he was firewood cutting off Chalk Bluff Road, not far from where Burmer was reported missing. Investigators sent the skull cap to the Human Identification laboratory at Chico State University’s Anthropology Department, where it remained. DNA testing was not happening at that time.
In 2003, a retired cold case investigator for the sheriff’s department collected DNA samples from Burmer’s relatives and uploaded the profiles to the FBI database. No matches were found, and it wasn’t until 2017 that the department learned the skull cap had never been submitted for DNA testing.
Thorugh testing, Burmer’s skull cap was matched with her relatives’ profiles, providing some closure to the 46-year mystery.