Cold Case Murder Solved by DNA

Mar 18, 2015 - 0 Comments

A cold case murder victim was finally identified through a DNA test 35 years after the crime was actually committed. 

In May 1980, the young female hitchhiker was picked up on an interstate highway in Minneapolis then strangled to death with a cord in an attempted sexual assault apparently gone amok.

Nine years after the fact, Minnesota’s convicted serial rapist and former state trooper, Robert Nelson, confessed to the killing, as well as to dumping his unknown victim’s body into a ravine.

That wasn’t the rogue cop’s only injustice, though: Once the girl’s remains had been autopsied, she was buried in a local cemetery simply as Jane Doe, and since then folks have been puzzling over the dead teen’s real name for almost four decades.

But, in March 2015, officials from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that a recent comparison of Jane Doe’s DNA with samples previously submitted by family members into a missing person database at last provided an answer.

The murdered girl is Michelle Busha, 18, from Bay City, Texas.

"Although we now have some answers after 35 years of waiting, I am certain this is not the conclusion [next of kin] were hoping for," the bureau's forensic science director poignantly acknowledged.

A sad truth, but one which serves to underscore an age old truism still relevant today: While DNA can now solve the mystery over a cold case murder victim’s identity, the act of accepting rides from strangers -- even off duty policemen -- remains just as dangerous as ever.

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