Patricia Tamosaitis was 56 on Aug. 28, 1994, when she and a companion entered the Class IV Snow Hole Rapids and both went into the water. The companion survived but Tamosaitis didn’t come out of the water. About 20 minutes later her still-buckled life jacket surfaced, and searchers later found part of her swimsuit. In July 1996 an employee with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found a skull about a third of a mile downstream, but the teeth had been eroded away from the flowing water.

The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office received a written evaluation of the skull in July 1996 from the University of Idaho that identified it as likely coming from a Native-American male age 17 to 20. However, the sheriff’s office considered the finding of the skull so near where Tamosaitis went missing more than a coincidence.

It was during one of those lulls in June 2012 that he sent the skull to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

The evaluation that came back in September 2012 said it was likely from a female age 30 to 60, but said the eroded condition likely meant it had been in a river for more than two years.

However, the sheriff’s office moved forward and the center extracted DNA that proved to be a family match with DNA supplied by her three children, a son and two daughters.