GALVESTON (AP) – Galveston County’s last known victim from Hurricane Ike remains unidentified more than two years after the storm.
The woman was found 16 days after Ike made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008. The storm caused widespread flooding and damage on the southeast Texas coast.
People on all-terrain vehicles discovered the badly decomposed body on the shore of Pelican Island. The woman is among 13 victims who are believed to have drowned in the storm.
The Galveston County Daily News reported Friday that county medical examiner’s office spokesman John Florence says the agency is awaiting word on DNA testing from the University of North Texas. One DNA test failed to match her with a relative.
Florence said his office took DNA samples from two people who have missing relatives. The best chance at identifying the woman could be DNA taken from a man while he was in a California prison.
Another man initially agreed to provide a sample but then decided he didn’t want the government having his DNA, Florence said.
If the second DNA test also is inconclusive, the medical examiner’s office intends to have her facial features reconstructed with clay. A Houston police forensic artist could then draw a sketch of her face, Florence said.
The woman, whose remains are stored in the office’s freezer, is estimated between 35 and 45 years old and about 4 feet, 11 inches to 5 feet, 3 inches tall.
Bob Walcutt, executive director of the Laura Recovery Center in Friendswood, said three other women are still missing from the peninsula since the storm. Others reported missing were assumed to be found when officials couldn’t contact the people who filed the reports, Walcutt said.
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