Indiana Cold Case Cracked as Father’s DNA Reveals Identity of 1992 Deceased Pregnant Woman

The remains of inmates of the Badush prison, killed in Mosul by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in 2014 and found in mass graves in 2017, are checked ahead of funerals at Wadi-al-Salam cemetery in Iraq's holy shrine city of Najaf, on May 16, 2023.

An investigation into the death of a woman discovered in a basement in northeastern Indiana in 1992 has yielded results. Thanks to advancements in forensic genetic genealogy and DNA analysis, authorities have successfully identified the woman, with the help of her father’s DNA.

According to Allen County Coroner Dr. E. Jon Brandenberger, the woman who tragically passed away was Tabetha Ann Murlin of Fort Wayne. She was approximately 26 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

“Today is a significant day for Tabetha, a long-awaited moment that you’ve been anticipating for years,” remarked the coroner during a news conference, where several of Murlin’s family members were present, marking nearly three decades since her remains were found.

According to Brandenberger, Murlin’s body was discovered by a construction worker in May 1992. She was found wrapped in a blanket in the flooded basement of a home undergoing renovation in Fort Wayne. At the time of her discovery, Murlin would have been 23 years old.

Investigators determined that the woman passed away sometime between late 1991 and early 1992. The body could not be identified initially, but authorities made another attempt in 2016. Eventually, in March 2017, the body was exhumed to collect DNA samples for analysis.

DNA Breakthrough: Murlin’s Family Identified, Cause of Death Still Unknown in Ongoing Investigation

This photograph taken on June 18, 2021, shows employees of the forensic DNA testing laboratory (Forensic Hematology Laboratory) of Bordeaux demonstrating the sampling procedure in Bordeaux, south-western France.


Officials stated that a nearly complete DNA profile was extracted and subsequently uploaded to a database of offenders. In January, it was also uploaded to genealogical databases. A forensic genealogy company successfully identified Murlin’s father, her deceased mother, and two aunts.

Authorities have confirmed Murlin’s identity after her father submitted a DNA sample for testing in January.

Officials stated on Thursday that the cause and manner of Murlin’s death have yet to be determined, and the investigation into her passing is still ongoing.

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