Knox Co. investigator hopes Smithsonian lab will help solve case

Knox County investigator hopes Smithsonian lab will help solve cold cases

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Very little is known about these two individuals. Both were shot and killed in separate incidents and have never been identified. Very little is known about these two individuals. Both were shot and killed in separate incidents and have never been identified.
"This person could be someone's mother, brother, father, or her sister," investigator Amy Dobbs said. "Somebody out there has to care about these two individuals and want to know what happened to them." "This person could be someone's mother, brother, father, or her sister," investigator Amy Dobbs said. "Somebody out there has to care about these two individuals and want to know what happened to them."
Experts can narrow where a person grew up to just a couple states. Experts can narrow where a person grew up to just a couple states.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Sheriff's Department is getting help from the Smithsonian in the hopes of solving two unsolved cases.

The Smithsonian uses cutting edge technology to identify artifacts. Now, the new testing is being used to help identify two shooting victims from the 1980s.

Very little is known about these two individuals. Both were shot and killed in separate incidents and have never been identified.

"He had suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his head and that's really all we know of him," said Amy Dobbs, a forensic officer with the Knox County Sheriff's Department. "She was picked up off the interstate, brought back to Knoxville, got into an argument and unfortunately was killed."

Dobbs is trying to close the two cold cases, so she contacted the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for help. The Smithsonian is one of three labs in the U.S. to use new isotopes testing.

"They are taking the teeth of these unidentified individuals and they are breaking down the hydrogen and oxygen," Dobbs said.

She says the enamel on your teeth forms until the age of ten. By studying the hydrogen and oxygen in the enamel, experts can pinpoint the region where a person grew up.

"That is based off the plants that we eat, the water that we drink, rainwater, and the dust that you breathe," she said.

Experts can narrow where a person grew up to just a couple states.

Then, Dobbs will take the age regression photos showing what the victims probably looked like as children to where experts believe they grew up, showing media and law enforcement hoping the individuals are recognized.

Dobbs says having a fresh lead on a cold case is incredible and could provide closure for the victims' loved ones

"This person could be someone's mother, brother, father, or her sister," she said. "Somebody out there has to care about these two individuals and want to know what happened to them."

The Smithsonian has been studying the teeth for four weeks.

Dobbs expects to know the regions where the two people grew up by the end of February.

She says this new testing could eventually change the way local law enforcement agencies investigate unidentified cold cases.

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