Her remains were first exhumed in 2015, the authorities said. In February 2021 they sent the remains to Othram, a forensic laboratory that specializes in using forensic genetic genealogy to help solve older crimes.
By September, they had successfully obtained enough DNA to begin building a profile and search for her living relatives.
A half sister of Ms. Sniegowski, curious about her family history, had submitted a DNA sample to ancestry.com, the genealogy website. Investigators said they matched that sample to the DNA from the remains and, from there, were able to track down Ms. Sniegowski’s family.
“Now I know who Jane Doe is,” Don Lawson, who found Ms. Sniegowski’s body, said at the news conference. Mr. Lawson, now a Boone County commissioner, added: “It’s not just someone that I found in an unfortunate way. She’s a family member. ”
Though Ms. Sniegowski’s body has been identified, the case is far from resolved.
“Now the work begins to find the lowlife people that did this,” Mr. Sniegowski said at the news conference. He added, “Anybody that knows my family knows that we do not forget.”
Mr. Sniegowski, who lives in Dallas, said his sister loved to sing and was funny and athletic. At one point, she even tried out for the boys wrestling team, Mr. Sniegowski said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
“She was a fighter,” he said.
Mr. Sniegowski said his sister had left all of her belongings behind when she disappeared, a sign that she had not intended to go far.