Skeletal remains have been identified through DNA science after nearly four years with the help of a genealogy website, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The remains were identified as Genelle McDaniel, of Eugene, according to a press release.

McDaniel’s skeletal remains were found in October 2016 near Gardiner by a fisherman. The man’s boat broke down on the Umpqua River near the former site of the International Paper Mill, and while he was getting firewood, the fisherman found human bones.

In November 2019, DNA Solutions, a private laboratory, produced a new type of DNA profile and compared it to information on the website GEDMatch.com, which found a probably familial match.

The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office contacted the family member and through the investigation determined them to be McDaniel.

“Being able to identify Genelle and provide her family with some answers is the goal we have been working toward,” said Craig Kinney, chief medicolegal death investigator for Douglas County.

McDaniel was born in 1954, a resident of Eugene, and had not been reported as a missing person to law enforcement.

“The follow-up investigation revealed circumstantial information which leads investigators to believe McDaniel’s death was likely the result of suicide,” sheriff’s spokesperson Brad O’Dell said.

Preliminary findings by the Oregon State Medical Examiner Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Nici Vance were released by the sheriff’s office in November 2016. Vance determined the remains were of a caucasian, likely between 30 and 55 years old.

It was also determined at that time that the woman had been deceased between one and three years before she was found and due to the advanced state of decomposition of the partial remains other characteristics such as height, weight, hair or eye color were unknown at the time.

“Our hope is to bring resolution to families in these cases,” Vance said upon learning of the identity of McDaniel. “With new DNA technology and collaboration, the efforts of many people finally gave this mystery woman a name. Our condolences go out to the family of Genelle McDaniel.”

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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