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What it takes to identify human remains

READ MORE: What it takes to identify human remains
New developments this week in the case of the human remains found off of Carolina Beach Road back in April. Wilmington police released a sketch of a man wanted for questioning in the case, but tonight, we are still waiting for DNA results that show who the victims are. The North Carolina state lab in Raleigh isn't handling this case. Techs at our state lab focus on identifying suspects through DNA technology, and in this case, it is victims that the police need to ID. That is why the remains were sent to a lab in Texas. The lab in Texas processes remains from all over the country, and focuses specifically on ID'ing missing persons. The lab's administrator says the quickest they can identify remains is six to eight weeks. When it comes to identifying remains, especially bones, Stephen Gammon says the quality is very important. "The quality of the sample determines the turnaround time for our analysts in terms of how quickly they can get the results out. If you have a fresh bone that hasn't been available for very long, then you pretty much generally have a good sample and it doesn't take us too long," said Gammon. In the case of Alison Jackson Foy and Angela Rothen, who police say may be the women who's remains were found, they had been missing for years. Police say the remains they found were quite decomposed, which would likely present a challenge to lab technicians trying to make an ID. Gammon isn't able to comment on these specific cases, but he explained the way they prioritize their work, and these cases would be among top priority.

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