In June 1988, a farmer told the Baca County Sheriff’s Office he had found what he believed to be human remains on a farm about 20 miles southwest of the town of Springfield in southeast Colorado. The coroner at the time determined the remains were human and had been there for a few years. After an extensive investigation, detectives couldn’t identify the remains, and the case became cold. But in May 2021, investigative genetic geneologist Michele Kennedy with Solved by DNA got involved.
The DNA was sent to a private lab and uploaded to two genealogical databases used by law enforcement — Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch. That’s where Kennedy’s job came into play.
“There was one really close match in Family Tree DNA, and later determined it was a first cousin once removed,” she said.
Last month, after tracking down Jane Doe’s relatives and building a family tree, Kennedy determined the remains were those of Nora Castillo — 34 years after they were discovered.