DNA match helps identify Valentine Sally’s body, found near Flagstaff in 1982

FLAGSTAFF, AZ – Nearly 40 years after it was discovered in northern Arizona, an unidentified corpse known as “Valentine Sally” was identified as a 17-year-old girl.

On February 14, 1982, an Arizona Department of Public Safety soldier stopped to assist a motorist along Interstate 40 west of Williams. During this stop, the soldier discovered the body of an unknown woman.

Detectives worked decades unsuccessfully to identify the body until a recent grant from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office run tests by a private seller.

The scholarship enabled officers to conduct a family DNA search to find relatives of “Valentine Sally” and it was found that the DNA matched members of a family in Missouri.

Detectives flew to the family in the St. Louis area and interviewed them. They learned they had a sibling, 17-year-old Carolyn Eaton, who ran away from home around Christmas 1981.

The true identity of “Valentine Sally” is now confirmed as that of the runaway teenager.

According to NCMEC, when Eaton’s body was found, it is believed to have been dead for about two weeks.

According to the CCSO, the case is still being investigated as a murder, but there are still no identified suspects.

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