DNA submitted to genealogy service helps identify Kansas woman murdered in 1987

TOPEKA, Kan. — The family of a Kansas woman who disappeared in 1987 now has answers thanks to an at home DNA test kit and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Michelle Carnall-Burton

Michelle Carnall-Burton was from Cherryvale, Kansas. In 1986, she moved to Wichita and lost touch with her family.

On Sept. 21, 1987, construction workers discovered a woman’s body on 290th Street near Lincolnville, Kan. Investigators determined that the woman had been murdered and that she had likely died two or three months before her body was discovered.

The remains were unidentified until this year when the KBI partnered with the DNA Doe Project, a new organization that works to identify John and Jane Does through the DNA of relatives submitted online through at-home test kits.


Tattoo on Michelle’s forearm

In February, investigators were able to identify a distant cousin of the woman and build a family tree. Once the family tree was constructed, Leonard and Donna Carnall submitted DNA for the KBI to test.

That’s how the couple, who now lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, learned that the remains belong to their missing daughter, Michelle.

At the time of her death, Michelle was 5-foot-7 and weighed 140 pounds. She had brown hair had hazel eyes. She also had a small cross tattooed on her left forearm.

The KBI would like to speak to anyone who had contact with Michelle in June or July of 1987. Anyone with information is asked to contact them at 1-800-KS-CRIME or submit a tip to their website here.

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