Friday, August 15, 2008

Forensic Techniques used to identify hand from 1948 plane crash

Colleen Fitzpatrick sent this press release to me late last night:


Cutting edge forensic techniques identify hand from 1948 plane crash

Researchers and scientists using specifically-developed forensic science techniques have finally identified an arm and hand found buried in an Alaskan glacier 60 years ago. It took nine years of cutting edge DNA and fingerprint research and genealogical studies to identify the remains of a Roanoke, Va., native. The 1948 plane crash killed all of its passengers – Merchant Marines returning from China. In 1999, the crash site was located within a glacier, and the preserved arm and hand were discovered. A fact sheet is available with more detailed information.

A teleconference will be held tomorrow August 15 2008, at George Washington University with researchers and experts in Alaska and D.C. Present will be:

* Edward Robinson, prof at GWU who did the fingerprint identification,
* Odile Loreille, PhD from AFDIL who did the DNA identification,
* Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, the forensic genealogist who found the family reference for DNA comparison,
* Kevin McGregor, one of the pilots who discovered the arm and hand. McGregor will have with him the ring found close to the hand and parts of the plane crash.

NPR did a 45 minute interview with Geoff Bleakley, Historian at the Wrangell Saint Elias National Park, in August 1999 when the remains were first discovered.

If you are unable to attend and are interested in the story, we can arrange interviews for a later time. Time and location of the press conference are below. Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, Aug. 15, 2008; 2pm
George Washington University
Rome Hall, Room 351
801 22nd St., NW
Washington DC

Colleen Fitzpatrick
(714) 296-3065


This sounds interesting. Colleen said in her email that the TV networks would be covering this story in a big way. I look forward to reading more about the details of Colleen's search for the matching family.

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