KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Analyzing Skeletal Remains Of Missing Girls

Bookmark and Share

Skeletal remains have been recovered in the car 17-year-old Cheryl Miller and Pamela Jackson were driving the night they disappeared in 1971. That car was pulled from Brule Creek on Tuesday. Now, experts begin the process of examining the 42-year-old bones.

The vehicle the missing girls were driving the night they disappeared is almost unrecognizable, after being buried under mud and water for 42 years. But, human bone can stand the test of time better than sheet metal.

"An underwater situation is better for preserving organic material than if it was exposed to the elements," said Dr. Adrien Hannus, Principal Archeologist and Anthropologist at Augustana Colloege.

Dr. Hannus is often called upon by law enforcement officials to help identify human skeletal remains.

"The coroner straight away would be trying to determine something about the dental records, and secondarily if they have the correct bones of the body from the individuals, trying to get an age estimate, and a sex estimate on them," said Dr. Hannus.

He says there are certain bones in the body that make it easier to identify an individual.

"The pelvises, the cranias, if they have those. Those are both parts of the body that have keys that tell you about the development of the individual. They tell you about the aging of the individual," said Dr. Hannus.

This is all partially dependent on how complete the remains are that were recovered.

In order to make sure the bone remains unblemished, experts will use soft materials such as bamboo and brushes, to scrape away any sediment.

"If they don't have those parts of the skeleton, then there's certainly other pieces that you can look at," said Dr. Hannus.

Dr. Hannus says modern technology could play a large role in identifying the remains.

"Today, we're much more well-prepared than we were several decades ago because of the advent of DNA analysis," said Dr. Hannus.

The closest living relatives of the two young women will have to provide blood samples in order to match the DNA.

"If they recovered any human remains at all, they should be able to, if nothing else, through the DNA be able to make an identification," said Dr. Hannus.

A process that will take at least several weeks. A short window in this four decade mystery.

More details on the case will be released once autopsies of the remains are complete.
< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >

SDN To Buy Sioux Valley Wireless

SDN Communications announced today its intentions to purchase Sioux Valley ...

SD Supreme Court Says Gambling Promos Not Taxable

Deadwood casinos will no longer have to pay state gambling taxes on ...

Wild Card 2 Ticket Sold In Huron Worth $6,000

A Wild Card 2 ticket sold in Huron is worth $6,000 in the latest drawing.    ...

New Manager Named For SD State Fair  Dec. 18

ROTC Sergeant At BHSU Acquitted Of Rape Charge  Dec. 18

Final Reminders Of Iowa Casino Remain Temporarily  Dec. 18

Survey On Deer Licensing System 'Pretty Neutral'  Dec. 18

Mankato Man Recovering After Severe Brain Injury  Dec. 18

SD Supreme Court Says RV Seizure In Meth Case OK  Dec. 18

Federal Jury Finds Man Guilty Of Drug Conspiracy  Dec. 18

SD man Gets 14 Months In Shotgun Threatening Case  Dec. 18

Jury Awards $1M To Families For Flood Damage  Dec. 18

Police Search For 3 Men After SD Home Invasion  Dec. 18

How To Get Hired Over The Holidays   story with video  Dec. 18

The Daily Scoop: 12-18-14  story with video  Dec. 18

Light Show Donates To Young Boy With Cancer  story with video  Dec. 17

T. Denny Sanford Gives Tech Ed $25 Million  story with video  Dec. 17

Snow Plows Tackle Drifts In Sioux Falls  story with video  Dec. 17

Monument To Honor Firefighters In Sioux Falls  story with video  Dec. 17

2nd Gold Coin Given By Anonymous Donor  Dec. 17

KDLT News Archive

Update: Missing Man Found Deceased

A man reported missing in Charles Mix County was found deceased ...

SF Building Damaged After Overnight Fire

Firefighters spent part of the early morning hours ...

Light Show Donates To Young Boy With Cancer  story with video

An annual light show in Madison is drawing crowds and ...

Police: Spencer Woman Found Dead In Apartment  Dec. 17

2nd Gold Coin Given By Anonymous Donor  Dec. 17

The Daily Scoop: 12-17-14  story with video  Dec. 17

Snow Plows Tackle Drifts In Sioux Falls  story with video  Dec. 17

Barn Fire Kills 7,500 Turkeys Near Worthington  Dec. 17

KDLT News Archive

Buchta, Herd beat Des Moines  story with video

Sioux Falls, SD—For the first time this season, the Sioux Falls Stampede earned ...

Lancers hot from outside in win at Dakota State  story with video

MADISON, S. D. – Mount Marty (S. D. ) hit 16 ...

Eades loves new home at Denny  story with video

The Stampede were glad to be home for Wednesday night's game with Des Moines to start a 9-game homestand ...

Scheels Plays of Week December 8th-14th  story with video  Dec. 17

3 Jacks make AP All-American team  story with video  Dec. 17

Another All-American honor for USF's St. Pierre  story with video  Dec. 17

Mustangs snap Madison's win streak  story with video  Dec. 16

Cougars win behind Mack Johnson's 30  story with video  Dec. 16

KDLT Sports Stories
Back To Top