The Wayne County Coroner’s Office in Indiana has identified the remains of a woman found in 1982 as Connie Lorraine Christensen, a 20-year-old from Oregon, Wisconsin, who disappeared over four decades ago. The identification was announced by Lauren Ogden, chief deputy coroner of Wayne County.
Christensen’s remains were discovered by hunters near Jacksonburg, Indiana, about 60 miles east of Indianapolis, in December 1982. She was found deceased from a gunshot wound, and her case remains an unsolved homicide.
The DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization specializing in identifying cold case victims, provided details about her attire when found. She was wearing high-heeled wooden soled clogs, a blue long-sleeved blouse, gray slacks, long knit socks, a blue nylon jacket, and a gold ring with an opal and two diamonds. The organization noted that her clothing suggested she was not out for a casual walk.
Last seen in Nashville, Tennessee, in April 1982, Christensen was believed to be three to four months pregnant at the time. She had left her 1-year-old daughter with relatives and was reported missing after failing to return to Wisconsin.
Her remains, stored at the University of Indianapolis’ forensic anthropology department, became the focus of a joint effort between the coroner’s office and the DNA Doe Project. Indiana State Police’s forensic laboratory extracted DNA from the remains, which was then matched closely with the DNA of two of Christensen’s relatives.
In a twist of fate, Christensen’s family was concurrently working on an accurate family tree using ancestry and genealogy services. This serendipitous effort aided the DNA Doe Project in quickly identifying a potential match.
Last Tuesday, Christensen’s now-adult daughter visited the site where her mother’s remains were found, leaving flowers in her memory. The authorities also presented her with the gold ring found with Christensen’s remains.
Missy Koski, a member of the DNA Doe Project, expressed pride in the organization’s role in resolving this long-standing mystery and conveyed sympathy to Christensen’s family.