A DNA breakthrough has led to the identification of the skeletal remains of a missing teenage girl from Virginia, nearly 50 years ago.
Patricia Agnes Gildawie (also known as Choubi) was last seen in Fairfax on February 8, 1975. At the time, she was only 17 years old.
A construction crew found the remains of a woman, along with some clothing in McLean, behind an apartment building and near a drainage ditch on 21 September 2001.
Fairfax County police have confirmed that the remains were Ms. Gildawie’s.
An initial examination revealed that she had died of a gunshot to the head 21 years after her discovery. Reports indicated that the remains belonged to an African-American woman in her 20s or early twenties.
Cold case detectives worked this year with Othram to identify the remains as belonging to a white woman.
Veronique Duperly was identified as a half-sister by the testing, and she shared Ms Gildawie’s story.
‘100% Match in 15 Minutes’
Ms. Duperly recalled the moment when detectives informed her that her Ancestry.com results were linked to Ms. Gildawie.
She said, “When I gave them mine DNA, they sent it directly to the lab while I was sitting in my living room. They had a 100% match within 15 minutes.”
Ms Duperly stated that Ms Gildawie was with an older man at the moment, and she loaned him a Cadillac Eldorado white with red interior. This was the vehicle she was driving when Ms Duperly last saw her.
Ms Duperly also noticed bruises on her half sister that day.
She told NBC News that she saw bruises on her upper arms and shoulders as well as the back of her legs.
“I said, “Well, why aren’t you so black and white?” “I said, ‘Well, why are you so black and blue?’ She replied, ‘I fall quite a bit.’ She said, “I fall a lot.” I replied, “No, you don’t.”
“We know that the killer is still out”
Police want to speak to her boyfriend but don’t know his identity. He was only in his 30s at Ms Gildawie’s passing and had worked at an upholstery shop near Church Street and Lawyer’s Road in Vienna, Virginia.
Ms. Gildawie was born February 1958 in France and arrived in the USA at eight months. She moved to Fairfax in the 1970s.
“We are moving fast and furious in this case. Ed O’Carroll is the bureau commander for major crimes, cyber and forensics.
He said, “Identifying this young woman solves an mystery that has been more 47 years in the making.
“Our community can take comfort knowing that our detectives are never done working on these cases.
“Advancements made in technology have allowed my cold case detectives to pursue new leads and brought some relief to families who have suffered with the unknown for a long time.”
There has been no information about any criminal charges against Ms Gildawie for her death. Police continue to investigate using new information from the family.