The missing persons case has been reopened and is being investigated as a priority case.
The remains of a young girl discovered in Tennessee more than three decades ago have now been identified thanks to forensic genetic genealogy testing. The skeleton remains were discovered on April 3, 1985, in Campbell County, Tennessee, and investigators assumed they belonged to a Caucasian female between the ages of 10 and 15 at the time, according to theTennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Since she could not be recognized, detectives dubbed her "Baby Girl." The mystery surrounding Baby Girl's identity was ultimately solved over 40 years later, as Tracy Sue Walker, born in June 1963, disclosed in a TBI release, reports NBC News.
However, even after her remains were identified, Tracy's case is still shrouded in mystery. She disappeared from Lafayette, Indiana, area in 1978 at the age of 15. Investigators are looking into what brought her to Tennessee and the events that led up to her death. A DNA profile for Baby Girl was produced in the FBI's Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, as well as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System after a sample of her remains was given to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification in 2007.
IDENTIFICATION @TBInvestigation announced the identification of skeletal remains found in 1985 as teenager, Tracy Sue Walker.— NCMEC (@MissingKids) August 31, 2022
Our hearts goes out to Tracy's family and friends as they process this news. https://t.co/CagH1PCcuD pic.twitter.com/nQeNq5QasU
The investigation was reopened in 2013, and the remains were submitted to Othram, a private laboratory for forensic genetic genealogy testing, early this year. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the lab discovered a probable related to the child in Indiana in June. Investigators contacted family relatives, who verified the disappearance of a family member in 1978. The relatives, who may have been the girls' siblings, provided DNA samples, allowing the UNTCHI to make the positive identification this week, reports CBS News.
Excited to share that we helped TBI identify 15-yr-old Tracy Sue Walker. The case was very challenging and failed at multiple labs. Another example of why we should never give up on a case! Thx @CarlaDavisDNA for funding & genealogy.https://t.co/a32i63yOkl#dnasolves #runthedna— Othram Inc. (@OthramTech) August 30, 2022
Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said Wednesday afternoon, "We are going to be meeting this afternoon with Lafayette (police) detectives." The case is not being investigated as a priority. Goldsmith added, "We’re going to get the information they have. We’ve already been on the phone with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. We will be assisting them with any follow up that they need," per Lafayette Journal & Courier.
He continued, "So on our end, the case is back open. I don’t know what that’s going to look like moving forward."
As computers were not available in 1978, the paper reports accumulated dust in a corner of the county records. The reopened case, according to Goldsmith, is a death investigation and/or a missing person investigation. He has not been informed if Tennessee authorities believe Walker's death was the result of foul play.
Cover Image Source: WBIR Channel 10/Youtube