MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – Officials confirmed Thursday that DNA from a skull and other remains found in a Sherman Oaks park matched that of a missing Manhattan Beach woman with Alzheimer’s disease who vanished more than two years ago.
Nancy Paulikas, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, was 55-years-old when she wandered away from her husband at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Oct. 15, 2016.
Her death was confirmed after a charred partial skull was found on a mountainside on March 11, 2017, and later matched to additional remains found in the area, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. The remains were found seven miles from where Paulikas, a retired computer engineer, went missing.
The skull was found on that date in Fossil Ridge Park, near the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Valley Glen Boulevard.
The coroner’s office sent a sample from the skull to the California Department of Justice in April 2017 for DNA analysis. On Sept. 13, 2018, coroner’s investigators found bones near the same area of the park where the skull was discovered and the next month sent a sample to the state Department of Justice for DNA analysis.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice notified the coroner’s office that both samples were from the decedent and matched Paulikas’ DNA. The coroner’s office listed her cause and manner of death as undetermined.
Her husband, Kirk Moody, said Wednesday that he heard from police that the skull and some ribs were found to be Paulikas’ remains.
Moody said he had no details as to the cause of death, but added that “it seems clear she met her demise in an unfortunate manner.”
Moody and the rest of Paulikas’ loved ones had been holding out hope she would be found in a care facility.
“I have to, she’s the love of my life. So far, I’ve let her down,” Moody said earlier this year.
Paulikas had last been seen on security video that showed her walking west on McCarthy Vista near the time she went missing.
A $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to her safe return.
Her husband, who met Paulikas when both worked at TRW, said he hoped her case would raise awareness and “inspire efforts to better address issues with at-risk people going missing.”
Paulikas was the inspiration for L.A. Found, a countywide program to find individuals using trackable bracelets, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said.
“I am heartbroken,” Hahn said. “For two years, we have kept hope alive that Nancy would be found safe and could be reunited with her family. I want to thank everyone who continued to search for Nancy. May she rest in peace.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)