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Indiana woman identified in 35-year-old fatal Turnpike crash after DNA test

The victim of a fatal crash that happened 35 years ago on the Pennsylvania Turnpike has been identified as an Indiana County woman, state police Troop T announced Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Linda Jean McClure, who was 26 years old, was killed Oct. 22, 1987, when she was riding as a passenger in a tractor-trailer that crashed at mile marker 119.4 eastbound, in Stoneycreek Township, Somerset County, police said.

The tractor-trailer caught fire after striking the fuel tank of another semi-trailer truck, which resulted in the death of McClure and her driver, the news release said.

In August 2022, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission agreed to pay for forensic genetic genealogy DNA testing.

“The Pennsylvania Turnpike is pleased we were able to support the state police on this cold case,” said Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “We hope that this revelation provides long overdue comfort to Ms. McClure’s family.”

State police sent forensic evidence to Othram, a laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas, where forensic scientists used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing to produce a genealogical profile for the unknown female.

McClure’s family told investigators they last communicated with her in the late 1980s. She was not reported as missing to law enforcement, police said.

McClure’s brother submitted a DNA sample for comparison, which confirmed McClure was the victim of the crash.

“There were many obstacles in this case, but none that deterred the outcome,” said Maj, Michael Carroll, commander of state police Area II. “I commend the troopers who remained dedicated to their duty and ultimately brought closure to this case.”

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