GREENFIELD, Ind. (WJW) — Investigators have determined that human remains found under a bridge in Hancock County, Indiana, nearly 30 years ago belonged to a 34-year-old Cleveland woman reported missing in 1996, authorities announced Wednesday.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office is now trying to learn more about Doreen M. Tiedman, the Cleveland woman whose remains were recently identified with help from genealogy DNA testing at an Indiana lab.
Her remains were found in October 1994 in a wooded area under a bridge, and investigators said they had likely been there for “several months,” according to a Wednesday news release from the sheriff’s department. The then-unidentified white woman appeared to be between the ages of 30 and 50, with short brown hair and standing about 5-foot-4.
“With few clues to the woman’s identity, the case went cold,” reads the release — but deputies remained “open to new methods and opportunities” to identify her.
Investigator Ted Munden in August 2021 referred the case for genealogy DNA testing at the Indiana State Police Laboratory. The extracted DNA was given to the forensic lab Othram in Texas for genome sequencing that built a “comprehensive” DNA profile of the woman, creating new leads for investigators to follow.
It’s a cutting-edge process that has “really gained traction in the last few years,” Munden told FOX 8. “It’s gotten more feasible to do with other cold cases.”
Ultimately, they were able to confirm Tiedman’s identity through additional testing, according to the release.
Tiedman, of Cleveland, was born June 8, 1959, and was 34 years old when she died, deputies said. She was known to hitchhike throughout the country and was last seen by her family in January 1994.
She was officially listed missing with the Cleveland Police Department two years later, and entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (or NamUs) in 2013.
Indiana deputies made contact with Tiedman’s relatives in Ohio, who helped confirm her identity with a matching DNA swab test, Munden said.
“I think it definitely gave them some closure,” Munden told FOX 8. “I think they probably suspected, after so many years went by, that she was no longer living.
“To finally know 100 percent and to get her remains and to get a burial — I think that helped quite a bit.”
Munden told FOX 8 that investigators have long-suspected foul play in Tiedman’s death. On Wednesday, he declined to offer specifics, since her death is still considered an active investigation — and one that has since gained momentum.
Anyone with information on the circumstances surrounding Tiedman’s disappearance or death is urged to contact the sheriff’s department at 317-477-1199.