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'Christy Crystal Creek' Remains Are Identified after 36 Years as Missing Janet Lucas

Laura Beatham
May 17, 2021
02:00 A.M.
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After 36 years, the remains of an unidentified female, nicknamed Christy Crystal Creek, have been identified as a missing woman named Janet Lucas. 

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Christy Crystal Creek was the name given to the unidentified remains of a woman who was found in 1985 by a bear hunter. 36 years later, the remains have been identified as a missing woman named Janet Lee Lucas.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office announced on Monday, May 10, 2021, that the remains have finally been identified. Lucas was a 23-year-old woman, from Spokane Washington. 

Yellow police tape draped on a gray wall. | Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

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In 1985 after the remains were not identified, they became known as Christy Crystal Creek because of the road they were found on. Throughout the decades, work has been put into trying to identify her.

Despite hours put in by forensic anthropologists and a forensic odontologist and researching missing databases from the USA and Canada, Christy Crystal's true identity remained a mystery. 

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However, earlier this year, with financial assistants from the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, the Missoula Country Sheriff's Office could partner with Othram labs to work on the case.

Through an advanced DNA analysis which allowed the officers to use a forensic genetic genealogy investigation, they were able to identify DNA relatives and a family tree for the remains.

Lucas's body was found in close proximity to Debbie Deer Creek, where one of Nance's victim's bodies was located.

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After interviews with Lucas's family in Spokane and further DNA testing of family members, officers were finally able to identify the remains of missing Janet Lee Lucas, who had gone missing in the summer of 1983. 

 The goal now is to seek justice for Lucas and her family. Not only was the 23-year-old a daughter and sister when she went missing, but she also had a five-year-old son, who spent his adult life looking for his lost mother.

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There are no records of Lucas having lived in Montana, so police shared her photo, hoping that someone might remember seeing her in the area of the summer of 1983 into 1984. 

Officers of the Sheriff's Office and the Cold Case Unit are reviewing all the new information provided by Lucas's family. They are possibly trying to link her to the serial murderer, Wayne Nance. 

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Lucas's body was found in close proximity to Debbie Deer Creek, where one of Nance's victim's bodies was located, so there could be a reason to believe Nance was responsible for the murder of Lucas.

Lucas's skull has two bullet wounds in the head, so her death was ruled as a murder. In the USA, there are 12 000 unidentified dead people, most of whom are presumed to be murder victims

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