Missing woman's remains identified after 23 years

SEATTLE -- The remains of a Redmond woman who went missing in 1990 have been identified after technology advanced enough to extract and confirm DNA from a skull fragment found by antler-hunters a dozen years ago.

According to the King County Sheriff's Office, the skull fragment found buried in the sand by two men looking for deer and elk antlers near mile marker 39 on I-90 belonged to 18-year-old Erin MacGregor.

MacGregor was last seen at her boyfriend's house on Sept. 19, 1990. That same day, a deputy ran the license plate off of her car in Federal Way.

But, computer malfunctions prevented the Sheriff's Office from determining which deputy ran her license plate and when or where it was run. MacGregor was never seen again despite her car turning up in a parking lot in Seattle two weeks later.

When the skull fragment was found in March 2001, laboratories were unable to extract or identify DNA from it.

But this March, detectives sent the fragment to Bode Technology in Virginia for advanced testing using new technologies. When the lab compared DNA from the fragment with tissue from the liver of MacGregor's mother, who died shortly after her daughter disappeared, it was able to confirm the skull fragment belonged to MacGregor.

According to the Sheriff's Office, a death certificate was issued for MacGregor July 30, and her family was relieved to know her fate.

Detectives are now looking at the 23-year-old case as a suspicious death and likely murder.