After DNA helped identify a victim of a 1986 murder, California officials hunt for her killer.


The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Division has finally identified the remains of a woman found dead in California in 1986 after a DNA test. Authorities now say they have a “whole new mystery” to find out who killed her.

The woman’s body was found on February 16, 1986, near the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation campground in Warner Springs, on the Pacific Crest Trail. But authorities were unable to identify the victims until this week.

of Sheriff’s Office announced On Tuesday, the body was identified as that of Claudette Jean Zeborski Powers, who was born in Michigan in January 1962. She lived with her husband in Washington state until she separated from her husband in the early 1980s and moved to San Diego in 1983. 1984, according to her family. She was last heard from in September 1984 after her father died. Police said she likely lived in the San Diego area until about February 1986.

The sheriff’s office said that although Mr. Powers’ body was located, the perpetrators were still on the run. In a news release, they called on members of the public with information to come forward and said detectives had been investigating the case for decades after Powers’ body was found.

Sergeant Tim Chantler told CBS affiliate KFMB-TV. Detectives are currently compiling a chronology of Powers’ life before her death to identify her killer.

Claudette Jean Zeborsky Powers.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

“It took us 37 years to identify who she was and solve the mystery,” Chantler said. “Now we have to reconstruct her whole life. Where did she live, where did she work, who did she know? Was she dating anyone? Are her friends Who was it? That’s where we started, and now it’s a whole new mystery, just solved.”

Powers’ youngest sister, Laura Freeze, urged anyone with information to come forward.

“It’s been really hard for our family,” Freese said in a news release. “There are people who know what happened. Neighbors, anyone who knows her knows what happened. If you are still alive and know my sister, And if you know what happened to her, please come forward. Please, we need to shut down.”

The agency said it was able to identify Powers thanks to a technique called genetic genealogy research. The technology is only used when all other methods have failed, such as scrutinizing missing person records, and the DNA found at crime scenes is sent to consumer genealogy websites to find the victim’s family. Includes uploading. This method is also used when searching for suspects.

For Powers, DNA information was taken from a sample of her hair and compared to profiles available on commercial sites. Using this, along with census records and other public information, detectives were able to construct a family tree and “track down those who were believed to be Claudette’s relatives.” Detectives spoke with the relatives and eventually connected with Powers’ daughter, sister, and mother.

A DNA sample confirmed the match and allowed the corpse to be definitively identified. Police said it was the seventh time the department’s homicide division had used genetic genealogy research to solve such a case.

A second body was also found near where Powers’ body was. The second murder victim was found “around the same time and in the same area,” according to the sheriff’s office, but has not been identified. Police said the incidents may be related.


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Written by Natalia Chi

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