DNA technology has helped investigators in Washington state identify two victims of different cold cases after disappearances and decades after the remains were found.
The Snowhomish County Sheriff’s Office is asking people for more information on the death of Blaine Hedge Tricks, 38, who was from North Dakota and disappeared after living in Spokane in 1977, and who disappeared in 1981, Alice Lou Williams.
The partial human skull found in the valley in 2009 was recently identified as that of Williams, officials said.
Trix caught the train to Spokane with his brother and never heard of it again and never reported missing, officials said. On September 7, 1977, a bulldozer operator found human remains at a landfill in Mesville. The Snowhomish County Coroner determined that the method of death was homicide, but the identity of the victim remained a mystery.
“Through family history and archived newspaper articles, the medical examiner’s office learned that Blaine Hedge Tricks was in the Spokane area from 1974 to 1977,” officials said in a statement from Fox Seattle. “The Bureau of Indian Affairs obtained DNA from three of Blaine’s relatives. DNA testing of Blaine’s two nephews identified Marysville landfill John Dochi as Blaine’s Hedge Tricks, born May 21, 1939.”
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Investigators are still investigating Trix’s death.
Williams went missing in July 1981 from a recreational cabin on Lake Loma under suspicious circumstances, officials said. Decades after the discovery of the forehead remains, DNA was extracted in March and profiles were developed that could be uploaded to the genealogical database.
“The medical examiner’s office uploaded the Othram DNA profile on GEDmatch and obtained several close matches. They built the family tree and discovered that the genealogy of Alice Lou Williams was correct and that it also appeared to be unaccounted for,” officials said. “Alice’s adult children were contacted about this possibility and they voluntarily took a DNA sample for comparison.
Williams was officially identified on June 10 and was pronounced dead at the scene. Williams’ daughter, Donna Roth, said her family was “broken” by the disappearance of her mother.
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“The only person who could give any information to investigators was my father, who was the last person to see her. Her disappearance has broken our family and she has never been healed,” she said in a statement released from the sheriff’s office. . “Finally, I would like to thank my mother for her love and devotion. Also, for teaching hard work and dedication and showing the way for my own family. She will always be remembered in our hearts.”