ST. PAUL - Human remains found in western Wisconsin 20 years ago have been identified as belonging to a murder victim from Minneapolis.
The identification comes as part of a new effort by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to learn the identities of dozens of sets of human remains that have sat in the lab for years.
DNA tests identify the remains, found in November 1993 in Dresser, Wisconsin, as belonging to Pearline Roberta Walton of Minneapolis. Walton, who would be 42 if she were still alive, was last seen in the Twin Cities in early summer 1993.
Walton's remains were discovered by a deer hunter.
Since the discovery of Walton's remains two decades ago Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators have been attempting to learn her identity as part of their investigation into her death.
"This case has remained open since 1993, and will remain open until we are satisfied that a final legal resolution has been obtained," said Polk County Sheriff Pete Johnson. "We now know who she is, which is a very important step for the investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death."
Over the course of two decades, detectives used facial reconstruction, dental comparisons and other identification methods with no luck.
The BCA identified Walton during the course of its effort to learn the identities of dozens of sets of unidentified human remains in Minnesota. The BCA in May reached out to Minnesotans whose loved ones were missing, and Walton's family was the first to come forward to provide DNA. They are choosing to deal with the news about their loss privately at this time.
Investigators urge anyone with information about Walton's activities in 1993 or with information about the circumstances of her death to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 715-485-8366.
Families whose loved ones are missing are urged to contact the BCA to provide a DNA sample to be compared with unidentified remains in Minnesota and around the country.
Many of these people were discovered decades ago when DNA testing was not available.
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