Coroner’s Office Identifies Deceased Woman Missing Since 2005
On Dec.19, 2017, the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office positively identified Jane Doe 06-03 as Christine Martell Kuhn, a 41-year-old female reported missing from Washington, DC.
On June 6, 2006, the remains of an unidentified female were found alongside a service trail off southbound Highway 1 in Pacifica. The remains were badly decomposed and the cause of death undetermined.
The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office submitted DNA to California Department of Justice and a Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profile was submitted to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). On Nov. 30, 2006, Jane Doe 06- 03’s fingerprints were matched to an arrest record from Jan. 27, 2006, handled by CHP-San Francisco. The name on the arrest record, “Sam Smith,” was an alias and suspected to be fictitious. The mugshot photograph was associated with the arrest record.
In 2014, a family member of Christine Martell Kuhn submitted a DNA specimen and a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profile was completed and submitted to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). On Dec.19, 2017, the Department of Justice notified the Coroner’s Office of the CODIS association with Christine Martell Kuhn’s missing profile with Jane Doe 06-03.
With the mugshot photograph, full fingerprint ten-card, and unusual circumstances in which she was found, Jane Doe 06-03’s profile was the most frequently visited by the public of all the unidentified persons on the Coroner’s Office website. Members of the Coroner’s Office have worked tirelessly since 2006 to identify Jane Doe 06-03. Thanks to improvements of DNA analysis in recent years, the next generation of CODIS has been using STR and mtDNA to enhance kinship analysis for identifying the unidentified by associating with missing person profiles. Mitochondrial DNA is a powerful tool for tracking ancestry through females whereas STR compares specific repetitions within individual genetic chromosomes.
The Coroner’s Office is proud to finally give a name to Christine Martell Kuhn and bring closure to her family.