Remains found by property owners in Tumwater last May have been confirmed as belonging to an Olympia girl who went missing in 2016, according to Tumwater Police.
The remains belonged to Danielle J. Griffith, according to a news release from the police department. Griffith was born in 1997 and lived in Olympia, the department says.
Griffith’s family last had communication with her in August 2014, when she was 17 years old, according to Tumwater Police Public Information Officer Laura Wohl. Griffith was reported as a runaway at that time, Wohl told The Olympian.
In early 2016, it was reported she had “possibly been seen at a medical facility,” Wohl said, so Griffith’s runaway status was discontinued.
The family came back and filed a missing person’s report that year, when Griffith was 18.
Neither Olympia nor Tumwater police departments had any leads on the missing person’s case until these latest developments, Wohl said.
Griffith’s remains were found last May in a wooded area in the 2500 block of Sapp Road Southwest while property owners were clearing the land with excavation equipment, according to the news release.
The discovery of the remains was not shared publicly at that time, Wohl said, because the department was waiting to confirm an identity and inform the family.
The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification processed DNA from the remains and positively identified them as Griffith’s. Wohl said she believes that center conducted the DNA testing because a particular type of test needed to be done. That’s also why it took so long to complete, she said.
The police department and Thurston County Coroner’s Office are investigating Griffith’s case as a “suspicious death,” but no cause of death has been determined based on the remains. At this point, the police department does not know when Griffith died, Wohl said.
Investigators are attempting to piece together a timeline that led to the girl’s death and contact people who may have known Griffith between 2014 and 2018. Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 360-754-4192. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of South Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS. The case number is 2019-01027.