Michigan woman identified 43 years after body found in Lake Erie near Cedar Point

DNA testing, genetic genealogy led to identification

The body of a woman was found on the beach near Cedar Point in 1980. She was wearing a size 12'' dress. (The Porchlight Project)

SANDUSKY, Ohio – A Michigan woman has been identified 43 years after her decomposing body washed up along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline near Cedar Point.

Investigators used DNA testing and genetic genealogy to identify the woman as Patricia Eleanor Greenwood. She was born in 1948 and had lived in Michigan in Traverse City, Bay City and Saginaw.

Her decomposing body was discovered on March 30, 1980, on the beach near Cedar Point Road. She was wearing a size 12 “disco style” dress. No hair, scars, jewelry or identifying items were found on her body.

The U.S. Marshals started investigating after “finding an old teletype from 1980 in another missing person’s cold case file,” according to the Porchlight Project, a nonprofit that funds DNA testing for Ohio cold cases.

In 2021, the Porchlight Project offered to fund the effort to help identify the woman. A tissue sample was sent to Bode Technology, a forensics lab that works closely with the Porchlight Project.

The lab compared Greenwood’s DNA with data in a publicly accessible database and determined she was one of “twelve children from the same family were given up for adoption in Michigan.”

Police confirmed her identity on March 30, 2023, exactly 43 years after her body was discovered. Police have not determined a cause of death, but her death is considered a homicide. Investigators hope publicly announcing her identity will bring forward people who knew Greenwood when she was alive.

Anyone with any information should contact the Sandusky police at 419-627-5980.

Read: Michigan cold case coverage

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About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.