In December 1987, the remains of an unidentified individual were discovered near the intersection of 130th Avenue and 72nd Road North in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. A citizen who out walking their dog along a road composed of shell rock made the discovery near a stand of trees. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBCSO) and Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene and, upon further investigation, determined that the remains were that of a female and the woman’s remains had been there for an extended period of time. It was estimated that woman was in her 20s or 30s. There was no clothing, jewelry, or identifying information accompanying the woman’s remains. Foul play was suspected.
Since the discovery, the identity of the woman has been unknown, and she has been listed as a PBCSO “Nameless” victim of the Unidentified Human Remains (UHR) case files. Using a traditional STR testing, a DNA profile was developed and entered into the FBI’s CODIS - Unidentified Index in 2005. A forensic sketch depicting how the woman may have looked during her life was developed and released to the public. Throughout the investigation, multiple individuals were excluded as the woman. Despite investigators exhaustive efforts, no leads materialized, and the woman could not be identified. Details of the case were entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP1213.
In September 2023, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office working with the District 15 Medical Examiner Office - Palm Beach County, submitted forensic evidence to Othram, in The Woodlands, Texas, in hopes that advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy could help generate new leads and identify the woman. 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. Confirmatory DNA testing was performed and has now enabled investigators to establish the identity of the unknown woman as Pati Lisa Loguercio Rust. Pati is believed to have last lived in the area of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in Broward County, Florida in the late 1980s.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information on Pati Lisa (Loguercio) Rust to contact Detective John Cogburn at 561-688-4063 or email: email@example.com or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477 or dial **TIPS.
Grant funding provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the use of Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy in UHR cases was awarded to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, allowing this case to be solved.
We would like to thank Senator Jennifer Bradley and her colleagues in the legislature for fighting for dollars for law enforcement agencies to help them solve these important cases.