Police solve cold case of Margaret Ann Sniegowski


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Moments after Lenny Sniegowski arrived at residence for a fast go to to see his household in Toledo, his dad and mom advised him that his 17-year-old sister, Margaret Ann, had not been seen for days. The youngest of eight kids, Maggie — as she was identified to relations and mates — had watched her older siblings depart residence at 18 or 19, and her dad and mom initially thought she may need determined to jump-start her grownup life, Sniegowski recalled.

However now days later, they have been fearful.

In order that day in 1992, with no leads from Maggie’s mates or the police, then-19-year-old Lenny Sniegowski searched his sister’s messy bed room of their household residence on Wychwood Road, on the lookout for clues. It didn’t seem that she had packed a bag, which made Sniegowski much more nervous, he stated. He drove round the highschool and different areas the place she preferred to hang around. At one level, he even began checking dumpsters.

“We didn’t know what else to do. What else are you able to do?” he stated in a telephone interview with The Washington Submit.

The Sniegowskis felt that pang for many years. However after 30 years, Maggie’s household lastly has some closure.

Greater than 200 miles away in Indiana, authorities introduced earlier this week that they’ve found by means of DNA proof {that a} Jane Doe discovered lifeless in Could 1992 alongside a freeway in Boone County, Ind., is Margaret Ann Sniegowski.

“It was this painful affirmation of my worst ideas,” Sniegowski stated concerning the second when investigators gave him the information. Sniegowski, 49, who now lives within the Dallas space, stated he has simply began to mourn his little sister, “as a result of though I’ve missed her tremendously, I had by no means actually began mourning her.”

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It was a Sunday within the spring of 1992 when an area farmer discovered a younger lady facedown in a soggy ditch close to the doorway ramp from Indiana State Street 47, carrying solely a lightweight inexperienced tank prime and anklet socks, in accordance with native and federal authorities. An FBI poster famous that she was about 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighed 130 kilos and was estimated to be between the ages of 17 and 22. She had a tattoo that learn “MOM” on her proper arm, one other one among a cross, and the phrase “LOVE” on her chest, in accordance with the poster.

Months after the investigation started, the case turned chilly and she or he was buried in pauper’s grave outdoors the Boone County Sheriff’s Workplace.

However the Jane Doe was by no means forgotten. In 1993, her physique was exhumed to extract DNA to assist decide her age and to ship her cranium to Michigan State College, the place specialists have been utilizing know-how to reconstruct facial options. Photographs of the ensuing sculpture have been distributed by means of the information media within the hope that the general public might assist investigators determine her, however nothing got here of it, the authorities stated.

When Boone County Sheriff Michael Nielsen took workplace in 2015, he determined to make the case a prime precedence, he stated.

The physique was exhumed once more and the skeletal stays have been despatched to a staff from the Archeology & Forensics Laboratory on the College of Indianapolis to achieve extra data and use it to resume public curiosity, he stated.

In 2020, investigators tried as soon as once more — this time, sending the DNA to a bunch that used family tree to assist id human stays. By the top of the next 12 months, a possible match had been recognized by means of an ancestry database, “and that basically opened up every part,” Nielsen stated.

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Maggie’s household had no thought police in one other state had been on the case — and that it was about to alter their lives.

Sniegowski stated Maggie’s disappearance had at all times haunted them.

He stated their father had died a number of years after Maggie went lacking and their mom had remained bitter till her personal loss of life, maybe half-hoping that Maggie had left her household on goal and half-scared that she hadn’t.

Sniegowski stated he and his late brother Mark quickly got here to their very own conclusion that Maggie was most certainly lifeless. However, he stated, they struggled to wrap their minds round how a fierce, robust younger lady might been victimized.

“She wasn’t an introvert who was simply going to get snatched by some man in a van. She would have clawed any individual’s eyes out. That’s simply the best way she was. She was powerful,” he defined.

In highschool, Maggie was a spitfire — she was fairly, well-liked and humorous, her brother stated. She as soon as tried out for the boy’s wrestling staff, “and I believe she would have made it aside from the issues it was inflicting within the faculty on the time. I believe the administration put a kibosh to it,” he stated.

She had additionally mastered the function of just a little sister. She was a freshman when he was a senior, and he stated he remembers how she used to embarrass him, working as much as him within the hallways and hugging him in entrance of his mates.

“What I wouldn’t do now to get that hug,” he stated.

In January of this 12 months, Sniegowski stated he was ending work one night when a sheriff knocked on the door. “I’m considering, ‘Oh, my God, I don’t know what I did, however he caught me,’ ” he stated.

It was Nielsen, coming to inform him that, in any case these years, they thought they’d recognized Maggie’s physique.

Nielsen and a lieutenant took a DNA pattern from Sniegowski, whereas one other staff was in Toledo taking a pattern from one other sister to substantiate the match.

Sniegowski stated the sheriff requested if had he a photograph of Maggie to match it with a number of renderings. “I gave them an image, and he began crying, that huge mountain of a man,” he stated of Nielsen.

Nielsen stated it was “a reasonably superb second to have the ability to present that closure” for Sniegowski and his household.

Maggie’s loss of life, which is taken into account a murder, continues to be underneath investigation. Nielsen stated investigators are actually making an attempt to find out how she died and who was chargeable for her loss of life.

He stated authorities will preserve Maggie’s physique throughout the murder investigation however then will return her to her household.

When that day comes, Sniegowski stated, it is going to be “a breakdown second for all of us.”

He stated the household plans to cremate Maggie’s stays and bury her in Toledo with one other sister who died too younger.

“We’ll lay her to relaxation there — and we’ll lastly know the place she’s at,” Sniegowski stated.

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