MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A Central Valley link to “a cold case” from 35 years ago involving a Navajo nation woman who went missing on her way to Flagstaff, Arizona, and was never seen again.
Officials say DNA testing has identified Christine Lester as the woman whose body was found in Madera County in 1987.
Lester has been in a gravesite labeled as Jane Doe.
Lester’s body was found on the side of a rural county road 16 days after she disappeared but no identification was ever made.
Her family says she used to hitchhike and was on a shopping trip to a mall in Flagstaff.
“We’ve always had that hope she’ll come through that door,” says Herbert Rockwell Jr., Christine’s brother.
Three years ago, a Madera County sheriff’s deputy renewed the effort to identify the woman.
A DNA profile was made and last month a DNA match was made with one of her family members that lead to her being identified the sheriff’s office says.