Human remains uncovered in Florida nearly 50 years ago have been identified with the help of genetic genealogy.
Tests carried out by Othram Labs, a private forensic laboratory that relies on genome sequencing to build DNA profiles, confirmed the remains were those of 15-year-old Susan Gale Poole. They were discovered in June of 1974, two years after the teen was last seen in Broward County just before Christmas in 1972.
Detective Bill Springer during a press conference on Thursday said Poole’s skeletal remains were found tied up in the mangroves of an area formerly known as “Burnt Bridges” along A1A in Palm Beach County. Authorities suspect she was likely the victim of Gerard Schaefer who was convicted in 1973 of two counts of murder in the first degree in slaying of a two Florida teens. He died in prison in 1995.
Springer noted authorities have not yet uncovered any physical evidence linking Schaefer to the crime, only circumstantial evidence.
At the time of her disappearance, Poole was living with her family at a Fort Lauderdale trailer park, according to the Palm Beach Sherriff’s Office. She was also staying at a friend’s apartment in Wilton Manors.
Scientists from Othram were able to build a DNA profile thanks to samples provided by Poole’s siblings and her mother, who is still alive and in her 90s.