'Jane Doe' killed in 1980 identified after 35 years

Woman murdered 35 years ago identified

MINNEAPOLIS - A woman who was murdered 35 years ago in Blue Earth has finally been identified.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced the major development in the 1980 cold case on Tuesday, crediting advances in forensic science to identify her human remains.

The BCA said Michelle Yvette Busha, of Bay City, Texas, was 18 years old when she was murdered in Minnesota. She's been missing ever since.

Officials say her family is grateful to finally have an answer and get some closure in this case.

On May 30, 1980, Busha's body was discovered badly beaten in a ravine off Interstate 90, east of Blue Earth in Faribault County. She was reported missing in Texas on May 9.

It wasn't until nine years later that Robert Leroy Nelson, a former Minnesota State Patrol trooper, confessed to her murder and was sentenced to a life sentence in Texas -- for this and other crimes. Authorities say Busha was hitchhiking when she was picked up by Nelson.

Still, investigators were unable to identify the victim and her body was interred at Riverside Cemetery in Blue Earth.

On Aug. 12, 2014, as part of the BCA's effort to ID unidentified human remains, "Jane Doe's" body was exhumed.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created a new sketch based on a new scull scan and x-rays from the original autopsy.

An isotope analysis on a bone and tooth was conducted by the Smithsonian to try and find information about her whereabouts at different points in her life.

Finally, BCA forensic scientists obtained a complete mitochondrial DNA profile and a partial nuclear DNA profile.

The DNA profiles led to her identity.

Busha's remains will now be returned to her family.

Authorities say families with missing relatives should contact the Minnesota BCA at 651-793-1118 and provide the person's name and date of birth.

They said advances in DNA testing are now able to give them information that may not have been available 30-plus years ago.


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