HUMAN SKULL FOUND in California Drainpipe Identified as Maritza Grimmett, MISSING SINCE 1979

HUMAN SKULL FOUND in California Drainpipe Identified as Maritza Grimmett, MISSING SINCE 1979

Police announced a murder inquiry after it was determined that a human skull discovered in a drain by a group of children belonged to a missing mother who vanished decades ago.

Maritza Glean Grimmett disappeared in 1979 after informing her sister that she was relocating her family to California. The mother, who was 20 at the time, married her US Marine spouse in the summer of 1978 and had her first kid shortly after, but by the following year, the pair had begun divorce proceedings.

Ms Grimmett, from Panama, told her sister she was traveling to the west coast but was never heard from again. Four years later, in 1983, a group of children playing in a culvert in Orange County, California, found a human skull wedged in a drainpipe.

After learning of the horrific discovery, Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators converged on the area and conducted a thorough excavation. Officials were later able to retrieve almost 70% of a woman’s remains but were only able to identify a few distinguishing characteristics.

All anthropological experts could deduce from the remains was that the woman was likely black or mixed-race, aged between 18 and 24, had a slim physique and stood 5 feet 3 to 5 feet 6 inches tall. The excavation crews also found one gold tooth.

While recovering the bones, officials were unable to determine who they belonged to and first referred to the unnamed assemblage as ‘Lake Forest Jane Doe’ after the location where she was discovered. Cold case investigators working with the FBI’s Regional Genealogy Team discovered a direct family connection for the mystery woman.

In late 2023, they shared the information in a Facebook community for Jane Does and missing women from the 1970s and 1980s. Just one month later, a woman contacted the detectives, claiming the remains belonged to her missing mother as per mirror.

After the family provided DNA samples, officials positively identified the victim as Ms Grimmett and launched a murder investigation. Bob Taft of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department informed local reporters, “Her family members passed away never knowing what happened to her.”

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