Remains found in southern Missouri in 1981 identified

Associated Press
Associated Press

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Remains found in 1981 in southern Missouri have been identified and the death is being investigated as a homicide, Pulaski County authorities announced Tuesday. 

The sheriff's department said a DNA match with a man in Alexandria, Virginia, identified the remains as Karen Kay Knippers. 

Detectives found the body at a low river crossing near Dixon on May 25, 1981. After she could not be identified, she was buried as a Jane Doe in the Waynesville Cemetery. 

Pulaski County Sheriff's Detective D.J. Renno became interested in the case in 2012, and in 2015 the remains were exhumed. 

Forensic analysis and DNA extraction was completed by the University of North Texas and the University of South Florida in 2015 and 2016, the sheriff's department said. 

In 2019, the remains were sent to the DNA Doe Project in Sebastopol, California, which uses DNA to identify relatives. 

The organization found a possible match in 2019. When Pulaski County authorities contacted the man in Alexandria, Virginia, he said his family had lost touch with a sister in the 1980s. 

The man provided a DNA sample, which matched him with the remains and identified her as Knipper.