Genealogy site, DNA used to help solve decades-old murder

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Genealogy site, DNA used to help solve decades-old murder

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Forensic genealogists followed a trail built on decades-old DNA evidence to help identify a woman whose body was found near a Lake Tahoe hiking trail in 1982 and her killer who confessed to three other murders, investigators said Tuesday.

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam announced he has closed the investigation into the shooting death of the victim identified for the first time publicly on Tuesday as Mary Silvani. She was born in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1948 and attended high school in Detroit before moving to California.

Balaam said her killer was James Richard Curry, who was born in Texas in 1946 and served prison time for robbery there before he was arrested in California in January 1983. He says Curry confessed to a 1982 murder in Santa Clara and two killings in the San Jose area in January 1983 but killed himself in a Santa Clara jail before he went to trial. Curry also was a suspect in a fourth murder in the Santa Clara area but that victim’s remains were never found, authorities said.

For decades, the victim was known only as “Sheep’s Flat Jane Doe,” named after the popular hiking trail where her body was found […]

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