New Castle County Police Using Technology To Crack 1977 Townsend Cold Case

New Castle County is using new technology to try to solve a 40 plus-year-old cold case in Townsend.

The New Castle County Police Department announced they are using a DNA technology company to try to identify a woman whose remains were found in a drainage ditch on Old Union Church in Townsend in 1977. The NCCPD is using Parabon Nano Labs, based in Virginia, in an attempt to learn the identity of the victim.

Parabon Nano Labs specializes in DNA phenotyping, which is a process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law enforcement uses the technology to make what are called “snapshots” in order to narrow suspect lists and generate leads.

Parabon Labs received a CT scan of the victim’s skull taken in April 2018 by the State Division of Forensic Science along with DNA taken from the victim’s bones. Parabon was able to take a “snapshot” of what the victim may have looked like at the age of 48 and with a body-mass-index (BMI) of 22. These are default values because DNA cannot determine the age or BMI of a victim, but DNA can make predictions based on ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape.

NCCPD has released the “snapshot” of the victim and anyone with information on the identity of the unknown woman should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333. You can also contact Detective Shahan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 302-395-2781 or Ret. S/Sgt Davis as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (302) 395-8216. You can learn more at https://www,NCCPD.com

Anyone with information on the identity of the unknown female can contact Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333 or by e-mailing Detective This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 302-395-2781, or by e-mailing Ret. S/Sgt This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 302-395-8216, For more information on this investigation, please visit NCCPD.COM.

Photo credit: New Castle County Police Department

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