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Metro Detroit murder victim identified after 27 years

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Nov. 16, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Nov. 16, 2023 04:00

(CBS DETROIT) - A body found 27 years ago in Highland Park has finally been identified.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), the body was identified as 17-year-old Mindy Clevidence. She was found in May 1996 in an alleyway between Cortland and Richton streets in Highland Park.

She was wearing a white shirt with yellow and black smile faces on it, a white skirt, white socks and gym shoes and a teddy bear watch.

The NCMEC says her identity was confirmed thanks to a partnership with Innovative Forensic Investigations and Intermountain Forensics. 

"We're grateful to our dedicated partners, who invest their time and invaluable resources to help get answers in these difficult cases," Carol Schweitzer, who manages NCMEC's forensic services unit, said in a statement. "No matter how long it takes, we know that the answers can be found."

Body found 27 years ago identified as Michigan teen
Officials say a body found in Highland Park 27 years ago was identified as 17-year-old Mindy Clevidence. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

According to NCMEC, investigators exhumed the body in October 2015. At the time, no matches were found. Nearly eight years later, in May 2023, the DNA data was sent to Intermountain Forensics and Innovative Forensic Investigations. A tip through forensic genetic genealogy led to Mindy's identity.

Police say an investigation is ongoing, and the teen's death is considered a homicide.

"Identifying Mindy is an early step in the process. Now it's time to get justice for Mindy," said Chief James McMahon in a statement. "It's been more than 27 years since her murder, but I believe someone has information that could lead to the arrest of her killer. We ask if you have any information regarding Mindy's case, please contact The Highland Park Police Department."

Through NCMEC, Mindy's family issued the following statement:

"We are grateful for all the efforts made by the Highland Police Department and NCMEC in helping us get one step closer in finding out what happened to Mindy and ultimately finding justice for her. We ask for our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time."

Anyone with information can contact the police department, as well as Wayne County Prosecutor's Office at 313-318-8516 or NCMEC at 800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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