Nearly 21 years after teenager Beth Miller disappeared, investigators hope that relatively new technology will help them find out what happened to her.
Beth Miller has been missing since 1983 when she went for a jog in Idaho Springs.
Miller was 14 when she disappeared after going for a jog on Aug. 16, 1983 in Idaho Springs. The only evidence discovered was found in Empire in 1994 -- a strand of hair, some bone fragments and a piece of fabric buried near Interstate 70.
The strand of hair was recently sent to the FBI for genetic testing for mitochondrial DNA, a method that has been around since the early 1990s. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation only recently received funding for these expensive tests on old cases, spokesman Pete Mang said.
Mitochondrial DNA is a mysterious strand of genetic material found outside the cell nucleus and apart from regular genes. Scientists believe each person's mitochondrial DNA is a thread passed through their maternal side of the family.
The hair found can be compared with a sample from Miller's mother, Mang said.
"We're doing this with a lot of old cases," he said. "In the last two to five years, we're doing a lot of things with DNA that we've never done before."
Miller was legally declared dead at her family's request in July 1994. In February 1995, a woman picked up by police in Tampa, Fla. claimed to be Miller but that turned out to be a hoax.
Miller's sister, Lynn Granger, is a dispatcher for the Black Hawk Police Department and the mayor of Georgetown. Her sister's case spurred her toward a career in law enforcement.
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