In November 1982, per newspaper reports, a human skull was discovered by a hunter in a remote wooded area north of Newport, Washington. The Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and the remains were reported to have been examined by multiple agencies. In the years that followed, the case grew cold, and due to a far less extensive records keeping process by the Sheriff's Office and the Coroner's Office at the time, it is unclear the extent of the work that investigators may have done.
In 1999, Undersheriff Mike Cress with the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office located the skull in a box at the Sheriff's Office and began investigating its origins. With the emergence of new DNA technologies, the skull was sent in March 2017 to the Washington State Forensic Anthropologist at the King County Medical Examiner's office in hopes of obtaining DNA samples that were not taken during the initial exam. The late Dr. Kathy Taylor, the Washington State Forensic Anthropologist, performed an examination of the partial skull and estimated that it belonged to an adult female. Dental and fingerprint records were not available for this case.
Also in March 2017, the case information was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP16379. A section of the skull was sent for DNA extraction and uploaded to the FBl's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). No matches were made, but this is not unusual for unidentified human remains.
In September 2022, the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office invited the Pend Oreille County Coroner's Office to join in a collaboration with Othram to obtain an advanced DNA profile, suitable for forensic genetic genealogy, for the unsolved cold case. In October 2022, a section of the skull was sent to Othram's laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas for additional DNA testing and development of a DNA profile that could be uploaded to genealogical databases.
In January 2023, Othram successfully obtained a DNA extract that was sufficient for testing. Othram scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to develop a DNA profile that could be used for forensic genetic genealogy. Othram's in-house genealogy team completed the genetic genealogy and subsequently provided investigative leads to investigators which led to relatives of Mildred (Allison) Hubertz, a woman who disappeared from St. Ignatius, Montana in 1968. DNA reference testing of Mildred's great granddaughter ultimately confirmed the unidentified person as Mildred (Allison) Hubertz, who was about 59 years old when she went missing. The circumstances of her disappearance are not known. On March 20, 2023, Pend Oreille County Coroner Dolly Hunt officially identified the unknown woman as Mildred (Allison) Hubertz.
The Pend Oreille County Prosecutor/Coroner's Office would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their assistance in this case: Othram, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office and Sergeant Mitch Parnell, the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office and Investigator Nicole Hamada, the King County Medical Examiner's Office and the late Dr. Katherine Taylor, Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Andrew Seidel, Forensic Anthropologist, NamUs, and Mildred's relatives for sharing their DNA and family history to help solve this 41 year mystery.
If anyone has information about the circumstances around the disappearance of Mildred (Allison) Hubert, please contact Sergeant Mitch Parnell with the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office at 509-447-1911.