- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) - State police seeking to solve old crimes have asked a court for permission to exhume two bodies buried together in a pauper’s grave nearly 50 years ago.

The request to Westmoreland County is part of an initiative to close cold cases by utilizing technology that was unavailable when victims were killed, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported (https://bit.ly/1KPJkAh).

The unidentified bodies do not share a link in their deaths, but they were interred in the same grave at Potter’s Field in Hempfield.

“If they have an identity, at least they’ll have a starting point,” said District Attorney John Peck, whose office filed the court papers to have the bodies unearthed.

The first body is that of a 20-ounce infant who was found in August 1967 lodged in the grate of a pipe at the Jeanette Sewage Treatment Plant.

An autopsy revealed that the baby boy, born prematurely, suffered multiple skull fractures and died from “suffocation by drowning.” Reports at the time of death suggested investigators believed the baby’s mother threw him into a storm sewer hours after his birth.

The second body is that of a girl between the ages of 10 and 16 years old who was found naked near the Colvan Sanitary Landfill in Salem.

The girl’s decomposed remains were found three weeks after the baby was discovered, but her body was so weathered that no cause of death could be determined.

Officials say the investigation will use 3-D cranial and facial reconstruction and a comparison of DNA samples collected in a national database to determine the bodies’ identities.

“The experts said they believe there is a likelihood they’ll be able to identify them,” Peck said.

A hearing on the request will be held Oct. 27.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com


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