Updated 07/20/2012 07:27 PM
DNA samples identify body of missing person
A 1980s missing person case in Western New York is now part of a homicide investigation in Central New York. As YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us, although both cases started back in 1984, they weren't connected until recently.
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NEW YORK STATE – "She was a typical, 14-year-old teenager as far as we knew. We contacted all of her friends, family members, everyone that she ever associated with."
Amherst Police say Nancy Jo Scamurra was last seen leaving her home on Scamridge Curve on July 1st, 1984.
"It was quite a big deal. There were milk cartons, was the thing back in the 80s, there was an extensive missing persons investigation," said Amherst Police Assistant Chief Charles Cohen.
Two weeks later, a fisherman discovered the torso of a female floating in the water of Lake Ontario, several miles north east of Oswego Harbor.
It was recovered by the Oswego County Sheriff's Office and determined to be the remains of a female murder victim, but despite investigative efforts, the body was unidentified for decades.
At that time, there were no methods that would have been able to positively identify her. There was no DNA at that point in time. The girl had no dental records or medical records," Amherst Police captain Enzio Villalta said.
Friday, law enforcement announced the body recovered from the water 28 years ago was that of Scamurra. The connection was made after the Onondaga Medical Examiner's office requested DNA from the remains be compared with the missing teen from Amherst. DNA collected from her relatives lead to the positive identification.
Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan said, "In 1984, the types of methods we may have used to identify a missing person, were missing. She didn't have those features when we found her."
Now, the Oswego County Sheriff's Office is hoping to renew public interest in the case, in an effort to solve the crime and finally bring justice for Scamurra.
Sullivan said, "Think back to anything you may have seen, anything you may have heard at the time. I get it, you didn't realize it at the time what it was, that's okay. Please don't try to figure out how relevant your information is, we'll do that."
Anyone who might have information is asked to call the Oswego County Sheriff's Office at 1-888-349-3411.
You can also visit a special Facebook page.