So, I found out today that Dr. Arpad Vass, a forensic archaeologist I’d heard of, has invented a nifty little widget that detects buried human DNA.
I have no idea how much it works, but it’s already proven its effectiveness: they found Gina Renee Hall‘s DNA in EIGHT PLACES along a river valley FORTY YEARS after her disappearance, as well as a piece of Gina’s bone (making her Charley Project case resolvable, which I have done), as well as DNA from someone else entirely: Angela Mae Rader, a girl who disappeared with her friend Tammy Lynn Akers in 1977. The girls (who were fourteen at the time) have been missing even longer than Gina.
Rather than thinking this means the guy who killed Gina (whose identity is known; he’s Stephen Epperly and he’s serving life in prison for her murder) must have also killed Angela, I think it’s more likely that both girls’ bodies coincidentally ended up somewhere in the same river valley and probably the same body of water. (DNA from Tammy was not found, but it seems likely that she’s somewhere in the same river valley.)
I haven’t resolved Angela’s case, since they only found DNA, not an actual body or even a piece of bone like with Gina. But I’m hopeful that her and Tammy’s cases can still be resolved, even after 43 years.
Dr. Vass’s invention could wind up leading to answers in a LOT of missing persons cases. This is really exciting.
Still looking for my brother, Bob L. Boyes, who has been missing since December 26th, 1968.
Disappeared from Port Republic, Maryland.
This device should would be helpful.
Dr. Vass is an amazing man. I first read about him in the book Death’s Acre, about Dr. Bass’s Anthropological Research Facility at the University of Tennessee, more commonly known as the Body Farm. He worked with insects to create the timelines used to determine time of death based on insect activity.