PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, working with a forensic genetics genealogy company to resolve unsolved cases, identified the skeletal remains of a woman found near Royal Palm Beach in 1987.
In an email Tuesday, deputies said the woman has been identified as Pati Lisa (Loguercio) Rust, who is believed to have last lived in the area of Lauderdale by the Sea in Broward County in the late 1980s.
Spokeswoman Teri Barbera said a homicide investigation is beginning.
Cold case solved: PBSO uses genetic genealogy to ID man found in Atlantic Ocean
On Dec. 20, 1987, a passerby walking a dog among trees near the intersection of 130th Avenue and 72nd Road, about two streets north of Orange Boulevard. In the 1980s this was considered the “Acreage” north of Royal Palm Beach, Barber told WPTV in an inquiry.
She provided an image taken by PBSO helicopter when the discovery was made.
Through an investigation by PBSO and the Medical Examiners Office, they determined the woman was in her 20s to 30s and "had been there for a long period of time and foul play was suspected."
No clothing or jewelry was with the remains.
She had remained as one of the "Nameless" victims of Unidentified Human Remains case files despite her DNA entered into the FBI's CODIS — Unidentified Index in 2005.
Palm Beach County
PBSO, state attorney receive grant to help solve cold cases
Last year, the Cold Case Unit was awarded a grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to use Forensic Genetic Geneology for these cases. The unit partnered with Othram of Woodlands, Texas, where the victim was identified.
Honored Othram could assist Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in identifying a 1987 woman as Pati Lisa Loguercio Rust, originally from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida. Grateful to @jenn_bradley & colleagues, who fought for FGG funding in FL. #dnasolveshttps://t.co/yQVfoO7wHn— Othram Inc. (@OthramTech) February 5, 2024
The company works with DNASolves, which combines crowdfunding, volunteered data and cutting-edge genomics to solve "unsolvable" cases.
According to the site, "Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile for the unknown woman. Othram’s in-house genealogy team used the DNA profile in conjunction with forensic genetic genealogy to produce new investigative leads, which were returned to investigators.
"Using these new leads, a follow-up investigation was conducted, leading investigators to relatives of the unidentified woman. "
PBSO is asking anyone with information on the woman to contact Detective John Cogburn at 561-688-4063 or email email@example.com or call Crime Stoppers are 800-458-8477 or dial **TIPS.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward regarding this case.