DNA identifies 1987 turnpike crash victim


Pennsylvania State Police Troop T announced Tuesday it closed a 35-year-old case by identifying the victim of a fatal crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Linda Jean McClure, 26, of Indiana, Pa., was a passenger in a tractor-trailer that crashed at mile marker 119.4 eastbound, in Stoneycreek Township, Somerset County, on Oct. 22, 1987. The tractor-trailer caught fire after striking the fuel tank of another semi-trailer truck, killing McClure and the driver.

While police immediately identified the truck driver as a California man, his passenger remained unknown despite multiple attempts to identify her. In August 2022, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission agreed to pay for forensic genetic genealogy DNA testing.

State police teamed up with Othram to help establish an identity for the woman or to at least identify a nearest living relative.

Othram’s genealogy team then produced investigative leads from this profile.

PSP Troop T investigators continued their investigation and determined that the woman was McClure. McClure’s family told investigators they last communicated with her in the late 1980s. She was not reported as missing to law enforcement.

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

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