SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Another cold case has been solved by DNA evidence.
And this case gives a San Bernardino woman some news she has been waiting for — for four decades.
Rose Mundt’s sister, Elizabeth, disappeared more than 40 years ago.
Mundt, 64, spoke to CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Rachel Kim to discuss her story.
Says Mundt, “I really have missed her a lot. She was just really a lot of fun and one of the sweetest people.” She is a then 14-year-old Elizabeth Ernstein, last seen in March 1968.
Ernstein vanished into thin air while walking to her family’s Mentone home after school.
Authorities searched for months. Ernstein’s family contacted the national media all to no avail.
Mundt remembers, “They sent out over 10,000 letters to newspapers and magazines requesting they run a story on my sister’s disappearance.”
A year after her disappearance, unidentified human remains were found in a shallow grave near Wrightwood. At the time, investigators thought the remains belonged to a young man.
Mundt explains why she thinks the mistake was made. “My sister was just beginning to go through puberty so her pelvis would’ve looked like a very young man.”
Fast forward to 2011. The remains were exhumed from a county cemetery and submitted to a lab for DNA testing. In May of this year, San Bernardino County investigators gave Mundt the call she had been waiting 44 years for. An investigator told her that they believed they had found her sister. “He told me that they had quite a bit of luck lately with cold cases and DNA swabs.”
Both Mundt and her brother gave DNA samples to see if there would be a match. “The deputy called me back and said ‘Well, I have news’. They had identified her bones.”
Mundt’s story is bittersweet. While her sister’s remains have been found — and she is grateful — she really doesn’t have full closure. There are so many unanswered questions. “What really happened? How did it happen? How did she get to Wrightwood? Who put her in the shallow grave?”
Mundt says despite the myriad of unanswered questions, she is at peace and her sister’s spirit can finally rest.
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