Remains in California are Navajo woman Christine Lester; missing since 1987 | Navajo-Hopi Observer

PHOENIX (AP) – A skeleton buried in a California cemetery for decades and marked “Jane Doe” has been identified as a missing Navajo woman in northern Arizona, officials said. .

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office has not released the cause of Kristin Lester’s death because it did not want to jeopardize the investigation, Phoenix television station KTVK reported on May 3.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Department near Fresno said a woman’s body was found by the side of a rural county road in 1987, but her identity was unknown at the time. The body was exhumed in 2020 for a DNA profile, and authorities were able to match it to one of the Lester brothers earlier this year.

Lester’s family received the body on Monday. Her brothers are planning a procession Friday to escort the body from Flagstaff to the family cemetery in the Navajo Nation, where a memorial service will be held – where she went missing. 36 years after, indigenous peoples around the world, on a date designated to raise awareness of the missing and the murdered.

Ms. Lester, then 24, told her family that in May 1987, she was planning to hitchhike from Indian Wells to Flagstaff Mall to buy Mother’s Day gifts. Her brothers said they don’t know if she made it there.

“We always had hope that she would walk through that door and introduce us to our family,” brother Herbert Rockwell told KTVK.

Lester’s siblings said they cherish the good memories they had with her when she was alive.

“I just want to say, ‘Welcome back, Christine, Shady, that means sister,'” Rockwell said.

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