Petite, pretty dark-haired Barbara Jean Paciotti is this week’s Flashback Friday. She was twenty and she’s been missing for nearly 45 years, since June 14, 1969, from the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota. Her sister and both her parents have died, but her brother, Greg, is still alive and hopes for a resolution in her case. He and her other loved ones held a memorial service for her in 2008.
Barbara’s then-boyfriend, Jeffrey Dolinich, is considered a suspect, in fact the only suspect, in her disappearance, and there are certainly some strange circumstances that point to him. But it’s been so long, and some of the physical evidence was destroyed before the police could get to it. Given Dolinich’s behavior after her disappearance, and given what physical evidence they did find in the course of the investigation, I think charges might have been issued today. But back in the 1960s they didn’t have such things as DNA testing, and it was much less common to charge a person with murder in absence of a body. In any case, now it’s too late; the suspect has died and whatever secrets he carried are beyond human reach.
Looking for new additional facts on Barbara (several days before this entry ran), I did find this article and this article, both from 2013. They mention Dolinich’s death, and the fact that the lead investigator in her case has retired and so it’s sitting inactive. Other than that there was nothing I didn’t already know.
At this point I think the best we can hope for is that Barbara’s body turns up. It’s not too late, never too late, for that. After all, Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson turned up recently after 43 years, almost as long as Barbara’s been among the missing.
In the unlikely chance she’s alive, she’d be 65 years old today.