Youngstown police, coroner identify woman’s remains found over 25 years ago

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Investigators were able to get a lead on who Williams was after wkbn.com published a story Feb. 24 seeking information on the identity of the body

This seal is hung on the wall in the room where officers take roll call before each shift.

WKBN

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Police and the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office have been able to confirm the identity of a woman whose remains were found over 25 years ago.

Detective Sgt. Dave Sweeney, who handles missing persons cases for the department, said dental records were used to confirm the identity of America Williams, 30, who was found Oct. 31, 1995, in a vacant Otis Street apartment on the North Side.

Investigators were able to get a lead on who Williams was after wkbn.com published a story Feb. 24 seeking information on the identity of the body, which was found by Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority maintenance personnel.

The remains were badly decomposed and it was impossible to get DNA. However, some of her jaw was intact and dentists Dr. Robert C. Johnson and his son, Dr. Erik R. Johnson, were able to confirm her identity with the coroner’s office after family members provided investigators with dental records.

Because the remains were so badly decomposed, investigators were not able to determine a cause of death.

Theresa Gaetano of the coroner’s office, who worked the case with Sweeney, said being able to confirm Williams’ identity was “awesome.”

“We never even thought we would get anywhere with these cases because of the lack of evidence we had,” Gaetano said.

Gaetano said the biggest factor was someone stepped up and told investigators, based on the circumstances and the clothing description and description of the person, who she might be.

Investigators are also looking to identify the body of a man pulled out of the Mahoning River June 29, 1980.

The man is described as a white male, 5’8, 50 to 55 years old with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information can call Sweeney at 330-742-8911 or Gaetano at 330-740-2175, ext. 7310.

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