1985 unsolved murder case in Montana gets a big break thanks to DNA

Janet Lee Lucas, a missing mother from Washington
Video Source: NBC

For over three decades, Montana police have been trying to identify the skeletal remains of a woman that a bear hunter found in Missoula County. Now, police say, they have identified them as belonging to Janet Lee Lucas, a missing mother from Washington. Her remains were found in 1985 and named “Christy Crystal Creek” by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) due to where they were found.

Earlier this year, after receiving state funding and partnering with a lab, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said they could conduct a forensic genetic genealogy investigation on the remains that identified DNA relatives and family trees of Lucas’ family in Spokane. Additional DNA testing was conducted on relatives, and MCSO could conclusively identify “Christy Crystal Creek” as 23-year-old Lucas.

Lucas’s family said they have been searching for the Spokane woman, who was last seen in Idaho the summer of 1983. At the time she went missing, her son was five years old, according to MSCO, and he has spent much of his adult life searching for her.

Police are now trying to piece together Lucas’s last years of her life and how she came to be in Montana. They said that no records are showing her living or spending time in the state. Police released a photo of Lucas from 1979. They hope that someone may have known or seen her in Missoula in the summer of 1983 or into 1984.

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