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Remains found 37 years ago in New Mexico belong to missing Wichita teen: authorities

·2 min read
Courtesy/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/ Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) says human remains found in New Mexico decades ago belong to that of a Wichita teenage girl who left her home in July 1984.

Dorothy Harrison of Wichita was last seen on July 25, 1984 around 5 p.m. when the 16-year-old left her Wichita home. She was seen by a sibling getting into a car with two unknown girls, according to a NCMEC news release.

A statement from her family says “like most teens, she was sometimes unhappy at home and easily influenced,” the news release read.

About a week and a half after Dorothy ran away, her family received a phone call from her saying she was in Los Angeles. The 1984 Summer Olympic Games were happening at the time. A few weeks later her family received another call from Dorothy saying that she was in El Paso, Texas, and on her way home. This was the last time the family heard from her, the release said.

On March 10, 1985, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico received a call from local hunters saying they had possibly discovered human remains that were found on a county road along Interstate 25. Investigators said the remains belonged to a girl to have been between 16 and 19. Investigators determined the girl likely died three to six months prior to being located, putting her death between September 1984 to January 1985, the release says.

A joint operation between the Dona Ana Sheriff’s Office and the NCMEC in March 2021 using DNA extraction technology helped authorities match the remains to those of Harrison’s over three decades later, the release added.

Harrison’s case is a homicide, and the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek information from the public regarding the case.