23 March, 2009

Eighteen Year Old Missing Person Case Closed

March 20, 2009
Eighteen Year Old Missing Person Case Closed
The Metropolitan Police Department has announced the closure of a 1990 missing person case with the assistance of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Twenty-six-year-old Audrey Palmer was found on Sunday, August 12, 1990 in a dumpster in the 5100 block of Sargent Road, NE. She had been beaten, strangled and stabbed to death.

For nearly 19 years, there have been various attempts to discover the identity of Ms. Palmer. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created a new composite photo and the case was featured by various media outlets. When the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) expanded nationwide, her fingerprints were run through again, but with negative results.

Recently, as part of an ongoing project by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner/MPD Major Case Unit on suspicious missing persons and the unidentified dead, an investigator with the OCME submitted the victim’s fingerprints into the new National Missing and Unidentified Person System database. The case caught the attention of DHS’ Biometric Support Center. After searching multiple databases, followed by a physical comparison of multiple fingerprint files, DHS was able to match the victim’s fingerprints to those of Audrey Palmer (aka: Althea Palmer) a 26-year-old female from Brooklyn, New York.

The information was turned over to an FBI analyst assigned to the MPD Major Case/Cold Case Unit who tracked Ms. Palmer to an outstanding bench warrant on a 1989 drug charge in Brooklyn, NY where Palmer’s next of kin was located.

Detectives discovered that sometime after her arrest, Palmer had left New York with the intent of going to Washington, D.C. She was accompanied by some men known to be from the DC area who have yet to be identified. Those responsible for Ms. Palmer’s death have not been identified.

The MPD wishes to thank OCME investigator Michelle Mack, DHS supervisory fingerprint examiner Ed Sears, FBI analyst Steve Milefsky, detective Jeff Williams and FBI special agent Viet Nguyen.

The identification of Audrey Palmer after 18 years as a Jane Doe demonstrates the value of collaboration across agencies and the initiative of those involved to work toward a common goal and move a case forward.

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