The RCMP say DNA helped them identify an Indigenous woman from Alberta whose remains were discovered in Saskatchewan two years ago.
“Through the (National Missing Persons DNA) program, the DNA profile was matched to that of Cheyenne Partridge,” Cpl. Kelly Bates of the Saskatchewan RCMP Historical Case Unit (HCU) said in a statement.
“The Saskatchewan RCMP HCU worked with the Edmonton Police Service and the Saskatchewan Coroners Service to confirm Cheyenne’s identity.”
Police said Partridge was last seen in Edmonton in 2016.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) now takes over the investigation into how she died and came to be found in Saskatchewan.
“While the cause of Cheyenne’s death remains undetermined, the investigation remains open,” Sgt. John Smith with the EPS Missing Persons Unit said in the statement.
“We will continue to explore and investigate any information we receive relating to the death of Cheyenne.”
Partridge was 25 years old when she disappeared on Nov. 26, 2016. Police said she was last seen in Edmonton on the No. 1 bus leaving the Jasper Place transit terminal for downtown at midnight.
Earlier, she was spotted walking in a north Edmonton neighbourhood.
Her partial remains were discovered July 24, 2018 in a remote rural area near Maymont, Sask., which is about 90 km northwest of Saskatoon.
“Over the course of three days, RCMP officers from the RCMP HCU, Forensic Identification Section, Biggar (Sask.) Detachment and an RCMP Forensic Anthropologist all worked together to examine the scene and the riverbanks,” RCMP explained in a news release.
“The search also involved the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, to take photos of the area.”
The National Missing Persons DNA Program was established in 2018 and is operated by the RCMP. It has approximately 500,000 DNA profiles on file.
This is the first time RCMP have made a successful match. They said the program has also yielded positive results for five other police services.
“This case illustrates the value of the National Missing Persons DNA Program by linking cases that span provinces and jurisdictions while providing closure to families,” said Marie-Claude Arsenault, Officer in Charge, Sensitive and Specialized Investigative Services, in the release.
“The more profiles the NMPDP receives, the greater our chances of making an identification and bringing more people home. If you have a missing loved one and would like to participate in the Program, please contact the investigator of your missing persons file for further information.”
Attempts to reach family members for this story were unsuccessful.