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Southern California Homicide Case: What Happened to Maritza Glean Grimmett?

Authorities said the woman was 20 years old when she vanished. Forty-one years after her bones were initially recovered, a victim whose skull was unearthed by kids in a Southern California community in 1983 has been identified, according to the authorities.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department named the victim on Friday as Maritza Glean Grimmett, a native of Panama who immigrated to the United States in the late 1970s. Grimmett was 20, according to a news release from the authorities, when she vanished. Grimmett’s remains were used in the inquiry for a DNA analysis, which assisted in the identification of family members.

About seventy percent of Grimmett’s bones were dug out from the earth when kids in a now-part of Lake Forest, a city approximately forty-three miles (69 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, found her skull while playing. Authorities failed to identify the victim in the decades that followed.

According to the sheriff’s office, a DNA sample from Grimmett’s remains was submitted to the Texas-based forensics company Othram Laboratories in 2022. The DNA extraction and testing were paid for by a U.S. Department of Justice missing people program. In 2023, authorities contacted one of Grimmett’s distant cousins after finding “a direct family line” for her.

According to the sheriff’s department, the relative suggested posting the results of the forensics investigation to a Facebook page devoted to women who vanished in the 1970s and 1980s. A lady contacted detectives a month after the results were made public, claiming to be the victim’s mother who had vanished. After that, relatives gave DNA samples to the police, who used them to identify the victim. The inquiry is still on.

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