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DNA helps identify woman found in shallow grave in 1994

January 4, 2022 GMT

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A woman found dead and partially buried in the Southern California desert nearly three decades ago has been identified after her DNA was matched with one of her surviving children, prosecutors said.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that the remains belonged to Patricia Cavallaro, 57, of Bellflower.

Investigators with the county’s Regional Cold Case Homicide Team now hope to solve her murder.

Senior Investigator Mike Thompson told the Desert Sun that the lack of evidence near where the woman was found indicated she had likely been killed elsewhere and buried in the desert.

Sheriff’s deputies found the remains on Oct. 24, 1994, near the community of Thousand Palms.

Officials said Cavallaro’s remains are among about 700 the cold case team hopes can be identified if more people who are missing a relative contribute DNA profiles to databases investigators can access.