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Missing Bones of Murdered Missouri Woman Found in Classroom

The bones of the victim of an unsolved Missouri murder which had been missing for years were recently found at the University of Arkansas where they were being used as teaching tools, The Joplin Globe reported Thursday.

PINEVILLE, Mo. -- The bones of the victim of an unsolved Missouri murder which had been missing for years were recently found at the University of Arkansas where they were being used as teaching tools, The Joplin Globe reported Thursday.

About three years ago, Detective Lorie Howard reopened the cold case of a Jane Doe whose decomposed body was found in 1990 at an abandoned house near Pineville, Mo., about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Springfield.

The available evidence included clothing, shoes and bindings found with the body but not the skeletal remains, which Howard said were sent to an anthropologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville 20 years ago for his help in creating a profile of the victim.

Howard contacted the anthropologist in 2009 but he could not remember the case or what had become of the bones.

The cold case was becoming colder until recently, when the anthropologist's successor discovered that some bones the school had been using as teaching aids were those Howard had been searching for.

While some of the bones had been bleached, Howard said they still had identifying marks and the skull's teeth matched a cast made of the victim's teeth after her body was found.

DNA testing had previously been carried out on one of the victim's fingernails but Howard was hopeful the bones would offer more conclusive results.

"But now I've got a femur, which is your best source of DNA," Howard told The Globe. "And I've got teeth, which have pulp, which could be another good source of DNA."

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