DNA evidence leads to breakthrough in 40-year-old case

Cold cases are notoriously difficult to crack, but advancements in technology have allowed DNA evidence to solve even the toughest crimes.

DNA came to the rescue once again for a Nevada murder case that has been ongoing for more than 40 years. The victim, known only as ‘Jane Arroyo Grande Doe’, was found dead outside Las Vegas. Attempts to identify her were fruitless, until last month when DNA helped to finally reveal her name.

Tammy Terrell’s identity was confirmed through investigative genetic genealogy, where DNA is used to match people and trace relationships to determine potential relatives of an unidentified person.

Terrell was just 17 when her body was found by a driver in the desert area near Arroyo Grande Boulevard on October 5. This was just a week after she was last seen with two unidentified people at a Roswell, New Mexico restaurant on September 28. Officials believe the teenager was heading to California before she was killed.

Previous attempts had been made over the decades to identify her body, but it was not until November 2021 that the Henderson police force made a breakthrough. The authorities received a positive confirmation of her identity thanks to forensic genealogy and experts who were also responsible for identifying the Golden State Killer in 2018. The samples that led to this discovery came from her two sisters, but police stated that the investigation into her death was still ongoing.