Cold: Questions remain surrounding Wanda Herr’s death

The remains of Wanda Herr were discovered in 1986; authorities were only recently able to identify those remains as belonging to Herr; this cold case has been re-opened.

According to Oregon Live,

Over 44 years have gone by since Herr’s disappearance in June of 1976. She was reported to be living in a group home in Gresham, Oregon; no missing persons report was filed at the time she is believed to have gone missing.

In 1986, two Forest Service workers found a partial human skull, some additional bone fragments and one tooth near Government Camp off U.S. 26 on Mount Hood in Clackamas County, Oregon. The skull was not identified at the time. The remains sat in evidence for more than two decades until in 2008 a state forensic anthropologist re-examined them and developed a better victim description: the bones belonged to a woman in her late teens to early 20s. Authorities did not learn of Herr’s disappearance until 2019, when the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office got a grant to begin DNA analysis on more than 100 sets of unidentified human remains, including the Mount Hood skull.

DNA analysis on the skull, plus genealogical research, revealed Herr as a possible identity for the skull. “The intensive genetic analysis revealed far more detail about the subject: The skull belonged to a female of Northern European descent with fair skin, hazel/brown eyes, brown hair, and some freckles,” the Sheriff’s office said in a statement. “This new info, combined with extensive genealogical research, soon revealed a likely name for the young woman: Wanda Ann Herr, born in 1957.” Police located her surviving sisters and were able to confirm the identity.

Authorities have asked that anyone who knew Herr or had any information on her disappearance contact them, as they are still trying to determine the cause and manner of her death.

Source considerations:

http://charleyproject.org/case/wanda-ann-herr

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