The remains of Patricia Agnes Gildawie, a young woman who has been missing for more than 47 years, have been identified using advanced DNA testing by Virginia police.
Gildawie, also known as “Choubi”, was last seen on February 8, 1975, when she was 17 years old, the Fairfax County Police Department said.
On September 27, 2001, a construction crew discovered Gildawie’s skeletal remains. Initially, investigators believed the victim was an African American female in her late teens or early 20s who died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Cold case detectives worked with forensic experts from Othram Inc., a Texas-based laboratory that performs DNA testing and genome sequencing for law enforcement. It was through this testing that Gildawie’s half-sister was identified and she was able to share her story.
According to the release, Gildawie was born in France in February 1958 and came to the United States when she was eight months old. Gildawie moved to the City of Fairfax in the early 1970s. Gildawie was dating an older man before she disappeared at the age of 17. His job was at an upholstery shop near Church Street and Lawyers Road in Vienna.
There have been no suspects named in the case, but police continue to investigate as new information from the family is provided. Those interested in providing tips to police may do so by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477) or by visiting the police department’s web site.
Ed O’Carroll, commander of the Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics bureau, said the identification process took a long time but it was worth it in the end.
“Identifying this young woman solves a mystery that has been more than 47 years in the making,” O’Carroll said, according to the release. “Our community should take comfort in knowing that our detectives never stop working these cases. Advancements in technology have given my Cold Case detectives an opportunity to pursue fresh leads and bring some relief to families that have been long suffering with the unknown.”
It is located roughly 14 miles west of Washington, DC, in Fairfax County, Virginia.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Virginia teen who vanished in 1975 identified through DNA testing NBC News
- Police use DNA testing to identify body of teen who went missing in 1975 CNN
- Remains of missing Virginia 17-year-old identified WWBT
- Remains Of Virginia Teen Missing Since 1975 Identified NBC News
- Body found 21 years ago identified as Virginia teenager who went missing in 1975 msnNOW