Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM
GEO-REFERENCING A COLD CASE VICTIM WITH RADIOGENIC AND STABLE ISOTOPES: LITTLE MISS PANASOFFKEE CASE STUDY
A young woman’s body was recovered in 1971 under the interstate highway I-75 Bridge on Lake Panasoffkee, Florida. The remains were not identified and the victim became known as “Little Miss Panasofkee”. In this work we analyzed samples of hair, bone, and enamel for Sr, Pb, C, and O isotopes in an attempt to decipher a geographical place of origin for the decedent. Sr and Pb isotopes in hair samples show values similar to Floridian samples. As the body was submerged in water and subsequently buried, Pb and Sr adsorption from groundwater and/or soil can potentially affect the Pb and Sr isotopic composition of the hair samples as these two elements are present at low ppm levels. Carbon is a major element in hair, therefore C isotopes are likely still reflecting perimortem signal. Hair data show shift from lighter to heavier C isotopic values indicating a diet change from more grain-based (hair tip) to more corn-based (hair root) diet. O isotopes in teeth show relatively heavy isotopic values suggesting southern geographical origin near a major water basin. Pb isotopic data for teeth and bone samples show relatively low-radiogenic values suggesting that the victim was born and raised in Europe. Pb concentration in teeth and bone is elevated with highest concentrations in the lower right canine, showing that the victim was exposed to high levels of Pb during early childhood. Pb isotopes in teeth and rib are quite similar to teeth from a small Greece town called Lavrion located south of Athens. There is shift to low 87Sr/86Sr from 1st to 3rd molar and bone indicating possible migration and/or dietary change. Overall, the Sr isotope ratios are within the spectrum expected for Greece, given the complex bedrock geology of the region. In conclusion, the radiogenic and stable isotope data indicate that the decedent was a foreigner. The shift in the hair C isotopes shows that the victim arrived in Florida/US between a year and 2 months before she was murdered. The Pb isotope data suggest European origin. Considering all of the chemical data, including Pb concentrations and Pb, Sr, O, and C isotope analyses on teeth, rib, and hair samples, we can suggest that the victim was most likely a foreigner from southern Europe, possibly Greece.