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Michigan State Police, DNA Doe Project close 25-year-old cold case

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Posted at 10:13 AM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 10:40:50-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan State police have closed a 25-year-old cold case thanks to the DNA Doe Project.

"The team is so happy to be able to give Dorothy her name back," team leader Gwen Knapp said. "And hope the family can have some closure."

Dorothy Lynn Thyng Ricker was found in Lake Michigan in October 1997. At the time, investigators ran out of leads to identify her. 

In 2020, the Michigan State Police reviewed the case and asked the DNA Doe Project to use DNA and investigative genetic genealogy to identify the victim. They say newspapers and record searches helped the team identify close family members of Dorothy Ricker. They were then able to confirm their DNA comparisons.

“The genealogy process of identifying Dorothy was relatively quick. The team was able to narrow in on a family of interest within a day thanks to having solid family matches in GedMatch.com, the site where we did all of the genetic genealogy," Knapp said.