A photo of Paulette Jaster from a flyer distributed after her disappearance in 1979. (File)
HOUSTON (February 15, 2014) A Houston forensic scientist used freckles in a childhood photo to make a positive identification of Paulette Jaster, a Michigan woman who died in a 1980 hit-and-run crash in Texas.
The finding ended a decades-long search by Jaster's family, who never knew what had happened to her after she disappeared in May 1979 from a small town in Michigan.
Jaster's sister Peg Sperlich says the family is struggling with mixed emotions, including sadness that Jaster is dead and relief that they now know what happened to her.
Sperlich says the family will travel to Houston to meet the forensic anthropologist Sharon Derrick, who used a childhood photo showing freckles on Jaster's face to ID the body.
Sperlich says the family will also visit Jaster's grave.
Jaster was 25 at the time of her disappearance.
The former high school honor student was killed in 1980 in a hit-and-run accident.