MONROE, Mich. – A body that washed ashore along Lake Erie in Michigan more than 30 years ago was identified recently using a DNA database system as that of a missing Indiana woman last seen in the Chicago area, authorities said Friday.
The death of Kimberly A. Wuerthele, of Portage, was classified as a homicide, the sheriff’s department in Monroe County, Mich., said in a statement.
Her body was found March 31, 1982, in the Monroe area, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit near Toledo, Ohio. She was 21 and last seen Feb. 26, 1982.
An autopsy at the time wasn’t able to determine cause of death.
According to Portage police, Wuerthele’s family reported her missing in June 1982, nearly four months after she drove to Chicago when her family tried to get her help for an addiction problem. She wasn’t heard from again. The case went cold, but Portage police began investigating again in 2008.
In 2010, police learned of a DNA database of unidentified remains at the University of North Texas. They tracked down down two of Wuerthele’s brothers and, using DNA from one of them, submitted information in December. A match was made this month with the body found in 1982.