Bones found 31 years ago identified as California woman

August 24, 2022 GMT

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Bones found in a Southern California desert more than 31 years ago have been identified as the remains of a Los Angeles County woman.

The Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team used forensic genealogy to identify the bones as those of Kathryn Coffey of Baldwin Park, the district attorney’s office said in a press release Wednesday.

The bones were discovered on Jan. 22, 1991, in the unincorporated Coachella Valley community of Thermal, southwest of the city of Indio.

The remains were located in a wash at the base of a hill and appeared to have been in the desert for a long time.

“The subsequent investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department unfortunately produced no leads and the case, believed to be a suspicious death, went cold,” the office said.

The cold case team began a forensic genealogy investigation this year and obtained DNA from Coffey’s sister. The California Department of Justice laboratory confirmed the identity in August and Coffey’s family was informed.

The family told investigators that Coffey, born in 1954, graduated from Scripps College with a degree in English literature in the mid-1970s and was last known to be in the Indio area around 1989 or 1990.