Public Effort Help Science to Expedite a Match - Almost Forgotten
Albuquerque Jane Doe Identified as Missing Person - Sonia Lente
July 11, 2009
By Todd Matthews
Recently, Doe Network member Karen Edwards was searching online and noticed a possible match between a woman who had been missing since 2002 (Sonia Lente) and an unidentified body found near Albuquerque in 2004.
Unknown to general public, authorities had initially thought the cases might be the same person. Unfortunately, a DNA test was unable to confirm a definitive match and the case grew cold. Then the cyber-sleuth once again spotted the potential match while searching Doe Network, who had tapped NamUs as the source of the data, she presented her theory. The Doe Network then passed along the suggestion to Dr. Peter Loomis, the NamUs contact for the case.
Dr. Loomis is one of several forensic scientists made available by NamUs to assist local officials regionally in the identification of unidentified remains. Dr. Loomis, a Forensic Odontologist, had recently contacted dentists in New Mexico, seeking records for missing women after 11 murdered women were found in a mass grave outside Albuquerque. Dr. Loomis began building an elaborate database of dental records.
Among those records was information that allowed him to substantiate the match and passed along the data to FBI. The FBI was then able to confirm the identification of the missing Albuquerque woman.
With data mounting the match was inevitable, but a gentle nudge from public helped resolve things more quickly.
Two days after the information was processed through NamUs, officials notified Lente's family that the remains of their loved one were at last positively identified.