Body of a woman found in Steuben County in 1999 identified

After 19 years, the Steuben County Sheriff's Department identified a dead woman's body found in a field in Angola.

Posted: Jul 21, 2019 10:29 AM
Updated: Jul 22, 2019 8:34 AM

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT) - After 19 years, the Steuben County Sheriff's Department identified Tina L. Cabanaw, from the Detroit, Michigan area who was found in a field in Angola.

On September 6, 1999, the Steuben County Sheriff's Office received a report of a body being discovered lying in a field northeast of Angola, Indiana about 2.5 miles east of Interstate 69 and just north of CR 200 N, which is now Glendarin Golf Course.

Police say the body was in the field for approximately 6-8 weeks prior to its discovery.

In 2007, DNA was collected from the body and entered into the National Missing Persons DNA Database at the University Of North Texas Science Center. There were more leads, but no identification was made.

In 2018, the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and Steuben County Coroner's Office sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), a DNA technology company in Virginia.

Law enforcement agencies across the country use the company’s Snapshot DNA Analysis Service (Snapshot) to advance investigations when traditional DNA methods fail to produce a match.

The newest Snapshot service offering, genetic genealogy , uses advanced DNA testing in combination with innovative genetic analysis, sophisticated identification techniques and traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between an individual and his/her ancestors.

For forensic investigations, it is used to generate highly informative leads as to the possible identity of an unknown victim or offender.

With their help, the Sheriff's Office was provided with a family tree dating back to the mid 1800's and a list of three potential family relatives determined by the genealogist to potentially be the fifth or sixth cousin of the unidentified body.

The Steuben County Sheriff's Office then used traditional police work to continue the investigation finding next of kin relatives.

The investigator obtained a DNA samples from one of them believed to possibly be the sister of the unidentified body.

The Indiana State Police Laboratory was unable to make an identification.

The investigator was able to locate a potential daughter of the unidentified body and a DNA sample was collected from her.

The Indiana State Police Laboratory confirmed through kinship DNA testing that the newly acquired DNA identified the unidentified body as that of Tina L. Cabanaw, from the Detroit, Michigan area. Tina was reported missing to the Detroit Police Department in July of 1999 and was never located.

As a result of the identification, the Steuben County Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation of Cabanaw's death. Anybody with information regarding this case should contact the Steuben County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 260-668-4646 or Crime Stoppers at 260-668-STOP.

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