New forensic evidence shows that "Annie" — the name given to remains found in the woods 46 years ago south of Cave Junction — most likely came from the northeastern U.S. or the Great Lakes region.
The evidence is derived from isotopes, or chemical elements, found in the remains, according to an announcement last week by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Isotopes from hair, bones and teeth can be used to determine where someone might have lived. Isotopes develop in the body based on food and water intake.
"Your signature in the isotope compounds in your body will give us an indication where you grew up (and) where you recently have been," said Nici Vance, a forensic anthropologist with Oregon State Police. "It's really revolutionary the things we can do now."
Vance is one of several people who appear in a video distributed by the center. Others interviewed include retired Josephine County sheriff's detectives Wes Curtis and Ken Selig.
"We all have major cases that stay with you even after you retire, and Annie's one of them," Curtis said. "She's somebody's daughter. She's somebody's sister."
"She belongs to somebody," Selig said. "She belongs somewhere. She belongs with family. And somebody out there is missing her."
A map accompanying the video indicates the Northeast and Great Lakes areas as the most likely locations were Annie grew up or spent time, although it shows with less likelihood that might also have been anywhere in the entire northern half of the country.
Annie's skeleton was found by a man and his son in 1971 off the Redwood Highway near milepost 35, north of O'Brien. A map of Northern California campgrounds was in the back pocket of her jeans. She had 38 cents with her. She probably died that year or the year prior.
Annie was 14 to 25 years old and had auburn or brown hair. She was 5-foot-4 and weighed about 125 pounds. She would be about 60 to 70 years old now, had she lived. Her cause of death is unknown, but suspicious.
One of the rings found with the body is strangely scratched with the letters "A L" across its face. It's an ornate ring, with a mother-of-pearl face.
"Friends and family have been wondering what happened to her," said Ashley Rodriguez, a case specialist with the center.
Anyone with information can call the Sheriff's Office at 541-474-5123. To view the video, go to vimeo.com/212274479/ebba7a43e2.
— Reach reporter Shaun Hall at 541-474-3722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.