The remains of a murdered teenager who was found strangled and buried in a shallow grave 43 years ago have been positively identified as a missing 14-year-old girl.
The body of Judy Gifford was found by a man walking his dog in Lake Merced, San Francisco, in October 1976. At the time, the body was identified as victim Jane Doe Number 40, a petite, brown-haired girl, aged between 14 and 20. She has now been positively identified as Judy Gifford thanks to her aunt’s DNA sample.
Judy’s aunt lives in Southampton, New Jersey, and had kept the same phone number for four decades in case her niece ever wanted to get in touch. Detectives contacted 87-year-old Ogee Gifford and arranged to collect a DNA sample. Judy’s remains were then positively identified last month.
Ogee Gifford told KPIX: “I always wondered what happened to her. My mind is finally at peace. God rest her soul.”
Judy’s half-brother, William Shin, reported Judy missing to police in 2017 and told them he remembered having a sister when he was growing up but that she hadn’t been seen since she was 14 years old. Judy had moved to San Francisco to live with her father, his wife and her two half-siblings in 1976. Shin was just 6 years old at the time, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco Police are now trying to determine who killed Judy.
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AlphaBiolabs’ aunt DNA test (also known as an avuncular test) compares a child’s DNA profile with a possible aunt’s DNA profile. Since a child inherits half of his or her DNA from each biological parent, the DNA comparison can reveal whether the child has inherited DNA from the alleged aunt.
Once the participants have had their DNA material tested, AlphaBiolabs can calculate a combined likelihood ratio that will determine the probability of relatedness. Aunt DNA testing is not the same as a paternity test, which is more conclusive. This form of DNA testing will produce genetic profiles of the participants and determine probabilities.
If a probability of relatedness is 90% or higher, it is highly likely that the aunt is related to the niece or nephew; under 10% probability would be considered unlikely to be related. And if the probability of relatedness falls between 10% and 90%, it is inconclusive: a relationship cannot be statistically supported by the analysis.
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