DAVISON (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say a woman who was killed in a Texas hit-and-run accident in 1980 disappeared from the Flint area 34 years ago.
Michigan State Police Detective Robert Dunham told The Flint Journal that a positive identification of former Davison resident Paulette Jaster was made by Texas medical examiners in Harris County. Officials said it’s “very rare” they were able to identify the woman more than three decades after her death.
Jaster was 25-years-old when she last seen leaving her Genesee County home in 1979. Jaster was seen carrying a green army-style duffel bag, walking toward I-69. Family members said Jaster suffered from mental illness and it worsened as she got older.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System said the victim in the hit-and-run accident had been seen at a truck stop in Houston looking for a ride to nearby Beaumont. She was carrying a duffel bag, but had no identification.
Dr. Sharon M. Derrick, a forensic anthropologist with the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office said they didn’t use fingerprints, dental X-rays or DNA to identify Jaster. Instead, they relied on a couple of freckles.
“This was one of those cases we really didn’t have anything to go on,” Derrick told The Flint Journal. “People get freckles and freckles sometimes fade (but) we were able to track three … two on the left cheek and one near the right eye” in making the identification.
Jaster’s sister, Peg Sperlich, told reporters that family members already knew the dead woman was Jaster because of photographs.
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