Girl Was Perplexed as to How Her Mother Could Leave Her at One Year Old – Mom’s disappearance was solved 40 years later by a police discovery.

After her mother left, a woman had considerable hardships. She began to blame her problems on her mother abandoning her at the tender age of one. Four decades later, she finally got the answers she had been looking for.Connie Christensen, a Wisconsin native, vanished on March 11, 1982, leaving her one-year-old daughter, Misty LaBean, in the care of a family member. LaBean had no idea that this was the last time she would see her mother.

LaBean had always wondered why her mother had abandoned the family when she was only an infant. For other family, Christensen’s absence from Wisconsin four decades ago was not surprising; she had previously departed as a teenager, even spending time at a carnival.LaBean reflected on her thoughts after becoming a mother herself, saying, “After my own kids were born, I was like, how could she have left me like that?

A woman looking out of a window while drinking tea | Source: Getty Images

That is something I would never do to my children.”The rest of the family, hurt and unwilling to talk about Christensen, assumed she had chosen to go at the age of 20. LaBean had no idea that for all those years, strangers hundreds of miles away had been actively seeking answers to the same issue. Those seeking the truth eventually made the connection, and a grown daughter eventually realized that her mother’s leaving may not have been of her own volition.

According to Lauren Ogden, chief deputy coroner of the Wayne County Coroner’s Office, at first, a sketch artist used a clay bust to reconstruct the face of bones recovered in December 1982 in Jacksonburg, Indiana. The remains were discovered by hunters along Martindale Creek in a rural area used for hunting and farming, but they were severely damaged by water, so they were stored at the University of Indianapolis.

Investigators realized Christensen had vanished from her family’s public record after combing through family social media and obituaries. Despite the difficulties, the coroner’s office continued in locating the remains. Over time, scientific advances changed from drawing to removing fine strands for exact identification.

The Wayne County Coroner’s Office examined the evidence in 2021, attempting to identify the remains through DNA extraction. The first and subsequent attempts failed due to a lack of genetic material. The DNA extraction from a foot bone was then attempted by Chief Ogden and her team. During this time, a member of Christensen’s family who was interested in genealogy promoted DNA record submissions to public sources, which aided in the development of family trees.

DNA matching, which is popular for tracing one’s family history, has also linked victims to murderers such as the Happy Face Killer. It eventually led authorities to the Golden State Killer. It took police 42 years to achieve a breakthrough in the case of the Golden State Killer, the masked gunman who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s with a series of killings, rapes, and attacks. Beginning in 1976 and lasting a decade, the serial killer targeted areas ranging from Sacramento to Orange County.

Authorities were unable to catch a suspect until April 24, 2018, when they apprehended Joseph James DeAngelo, a 73-year-old retired cop suspected of being the Golden State Killer. DeAngelo was charged with 13 counts of murder with exceptional circumstances, including rape and murder during a burglary, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery. Following the advice of Christensen’s relative, officials used the GEDmatch genealogy and DNA database to connect crime-scene DNA with prospective suspects identified through DNA profiles or genealogical data from public agencies in the Golden State case.

The Wayne County Coroner’s Office used this technology, coupled with DNA from the Martindale Creek remains, in collaboration with the DNA Doe Project. The DNA Doe Project narrowed down probable DNA ties to the Christensen siblings in less than 24 hours. Investigators realized Christensen had vanished from her family’s public record after combing through family social media and obituaries.Chief Ogden of the coroner’s office contacted the missing woman’s daughter, LaBean, to confirm the findings. In a difficult moment, Ogden, a complete stranger, approached LaBean for permission to collect a cheek swab.

Christensen’s identity was confirmed by DNA, revealing not only her presence but also the grisly detail of her death—a gunshot wound. “Our hearts go out to Connie’s family, and we were honored to bring them the answers they have sought for so long,” said volunteer and genealogist Missy Koski.

This revelation triggered a flurry of additional inquiry, including the circumstances surrounding Christensen’s arrival in Indiana, the identity of her assailant, and the motivations for her untimely death.Even in the absence of additional information, discovering what happened to Christensen relieved the family’s tight grip on her memories, providing closure to the youngster who had long questioned her desertion.

“The most important thing is that I’ve always loved animals.” Then I discovered that [my mother] adored cats. That’s something I picked up from her,” LaBean explained. She reclaimed her mother’s opal ring, a childhood emblem she now wears around her neck as a mother herself. The retrieval of personal artifacts and the closure afforded by DNA constituted an emotional complete circle for LaBean.

Christensen’s ashes were interred among her relatives in April 2023, allowing her family to pay their respects, offer flowers, and have quiet moments. Unfortunately, some wishes, such as LaBean’s desire for her mother to fix her hair for her first middle school dance, will go unmet.Nonetheless, the grown daughter, along with the rest of her family, is eager to reintegrate the lost, young mother into a communal hug as they mourn the terrible losses suffered over the decades.

Christensen’s obituary creates a vision of the family she may have had, emphasizing the roles she could have played as a mother, grandmother, and valued family member. “Even just knowing what happened to [my mother] has helped, although in some ways, it’s also made it worse,” said LaBean, who now uses social media to reunite missing people with their families.

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