Nearly one year after a woman's body was found in a Pemberton woods, Burlington County detectives announced they were able to identify the victim. Yet a composite sketch they released last month barely resembles the woman.
When you compare the photograph of the victim, Molly Lynch of Falls Township, to the artist rendering, the differences are striking. The sketch shows a brown-eyed brunette with a long face and pouty lips. The photograph depicts a younger, blue-eyed blonde with attractive features, fuller lips, and, an oval-shaped face.
It's true that the forensic artist and anthropologist who collaborated on the drawing had little to go on. They based their work on an examination of the skull, dental records, and minimal other evidence.
The body bore no distinctive clothing, jewelry or identifying marks to guide them.
That's often true with unidentified remains. Currently there are nearly 10,000 cases of unidentified remains in a national forensic database, NamUs, or the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
When the detectives released the sketch to the media, they also offered a bit more information that in the end could have played a bigger role in the case. Dental X-rays were produced from the remains and detailed extensive work, including a root canal. The published reports also stirred up interest in an unidentified person who was in danger of being forgotten.
The important thing is the release of the sketch and the plea for public help did produce results. The victim has been identified. And now the family knows what happened to their loved one. Lynch had struggled with drugs, her mother said, and had been in rehabilitation. She had fallen in with the wrong crowd.
Now, the Burlington County prosecutor's office wants one more thing from the public. Detectives believe the woman was murdered. If anyone has information that could lead to an arrest, he or she should call the tip line at 609-267-8300.