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Clarksville woman missing for 30 years, identified in 6 hours with forensic technology


Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -Investigators say a Clarksville woman missing for 30 years was identified this week in six hours. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois confirmed a decapitated head found almost 30 years ago is Susan Lund.

Investigators say a researcher, Dr. Amy Michael, at the University of New Hampshire heard about the decapitated head when she grew up in Illinois. They say along with her curiosity, she offered them new forensic technology to make this identification.

When Crystal Lund thinks of her mother, Susan Lund, she only remembers so much before her mother went missing.

“I do have some memories of her,” Crystal recalls. “Like us walking to the store to get ice cream.”

She says she was four years old on Christmas Eve night of 1992.

“I remember my mom going to the store because I was upset cause my dad wouldn’t let me go with her,” she says.

Crystal says her mom was heading out to get a pumpkin pie for Christmas dinner, but she never returned. She says Susan Lund’s husband reported her missing.

One month later in Illinois, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office found a female head on the side of the road outside Wayne Fitzgerell State Park. Investigators say no one knew it was Susan Lund, until this week.

“I think I made myself believe that she met someone else,” says Crystal.

“There was just never an identification made,” says Detective Captain Bobby Wallace with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

He says their small department didn’t have the right technology, but Dr. Michael reached out to re-examine the case and use new forensic methods.

“This was a perfect case,” says Capt. Wallace. “There was really good DNA, there were really good markers, and there was a family member who participated in the program at some point. So, they were able to get a match pretty quickly and they were able to track that match up to the genealogy to Ms. Lund.”

He says within hours they had a match.

“If it feels this good for us to do it, I can’t imagine what Ms. Lund’s family is feeling,” Capt. Wallace points out.

“I was in shock at first, like denial,” Crystal recalls when she heard about the findings recently. “Everything went so fast, I was like “oh my god”.”

She says after years of Google searches and looking through articles it’s possible she read about her mother and didn’t even know.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says they will reopen the investigation to try and identify who did this to Lund 30 years ago.

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