Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lexis and Suellen Roberts: Killed by a Dead Man?

Remains Found

On Friday, October 8, 2010, deputies with the Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana reported that hunters had found human remains in a wooded area north of Harrisonburg. The remains could have been that of a girl or young woman due to the corpse's stature or overall length, but there was little more than a skeleton with which to work. With little information on the victim, the sheriff's office turned to the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Lab at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for help.

mary manheim
mary manheim
FACES is funded by the state to provide local law enforcement with forensic science methods to aid in the identification of victims, especially those remains that have few identifying characteristics. FACES director Mary Manhein and her staff, five of whom are female forensic anthropologists, were almost immediately moved by the case, in part because one of the victim's identifying characteristics was that of a young female. Another characteristic was that she wore braces on her teeth, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"I think [it was] the braces on the girl's teeth," Manhein told the newspaper. "It just struck us. It really just made it all too real...we're mothers, we're aunts, we're great-aunts, and we're grandmothers. We thought, 'Uh-uh, this isn't going to happen.' We weren't going to let this rest until we did all we could to try and find out who this girl was."

Manhein and her staff promptly put together a profile of their victim—she was white, between the ages of 12 and 16. Admittedly, it wasn't much to go on, but it was a beginning.

"The night we found the body, we knew she wasn't from Catahoula Parish or even from Louisiana," said Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly.

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