SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - A woman who was found dead in South Lake Tahoe has been identified as Donna Lass, who was reported missing more than 50 years ago, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office.
Lass was reported missing 1970. She was 25 at the time and worked as a nurse at Sahara-Tahoe, a casino hotel, which is now the Golden Nugget,
Placer County Sheriff's deputies later found an unidentified skull in 1986 and held on to it until there were more advancements in forensic technology, KCRA3 reported.
A cold case team sent the skull to the California Department of Justice.
On Wednesday, South Lake Tahoe Police Chief David Stevenson told KCRA 3 that the state's forensics specialists cross-referenced the DNA from the skull with a DNA sample that the police department got from Lass' sister about five years ago.
Last week, the DNA was found to be a match with Lass's sister, and therefore Lass, officials said.
Authorities said they told Lass' surviving family members that she had been identified.
Stevenson said he hopes Lass' family can find some closure now that they have knowledge about her fate, but he understands that they will still have questions about what happened.
"Obviously it was a long time ago, but families never forget," Stevenson told KCRA3. "It never gets old. It never goes away. They never heal. That unknown is very painful for them."
Stevenson said detectives have labeled Lass' death as "suspicious," but it is still unclear how exactly she died.
Stevenson said there are still no suspects or suspect descriptions associated with Lass' disappearance.