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  • Writer's picturecsp.pio

CSP, Medical Examiner Collaborate to ID Remains from 1974 Homicide

On May 30, 1974, skeletal remains of two victims were found in a shallow grave in Ledyard after Connecticut State Police obtained the location from a witness of a double

homicide that occurred on December 31, 1970. The witness stated that the two decedents had been fatally shot.

One victim, however, used an alias and her identity was never verified. Examination of her remains determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was homicide. Shortly after the bodies were discovered, the suspects of the double homicide were arrested by Connecticut State Police and subsequently convicted of the crimes. Both suspects are deceased.

For more than fifty years, no one knew the identity of the female victim. In 2011, the case data was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), along with the female victim’s dental X-rays and a description of her as a white female between 18 and 30 years of age. DNA was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) in 2012 by the Connecticut Department of Scientific Services where they remained with no matches. Over the years, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, along with Connecticut State Police, had a few leads, with no success.

In July of 2022, samples were sent to Othram for Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy, a private company working with the State of Connecticut. DNA from the female remains was extracted, sequenced, and uploaded into a forensic investigative genetic genealogy database, GEDMatch Pro.

Lead medicolegal death investigator Michelle Clark, from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, worked on the genealogy component of the investigation and collaborated with Connecticut State Police Detective Michael Hamel to reopen the case. In January 2024, a highly likely family member – the victim’s sister – was identified. The sister of the decedent was contacted by Investigator Clark, who learned that the unidentified decedent had a daughter. The daughter provided a DNA sample, which confirmed the identity in February 2024.

The female victim has been identified as Linda Sue Childers of Kentucky. Conversations with the family confirmed her whereabouts in the northeast throughout the years before her disappearance. It is gratifying to have helped identify Linda and, most importantly, give her family some answers.

Photo given to OCME after being identified/ Sketch that was used to help ID in 1974



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