http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/h/harder_melinda.html http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingnews/2008/10/skeletal-remain.html October 15, 2008 Skeletal remains found in 1989 identified as St. Petersburg woman missing since 1980 ST. PETERSBURG -- Skeletal remains found in Maximo Park in March 1989 have been identified as a woman who went missing in 1980, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department. On the evening of July 26, 1980, police said, Melinda Harder, 30, of 2136 23rd Ave. N in St. Petersburg went out with her sister-in-law while her ex-husband watched her three children. When the two women returned home, Harder walked to her boyfriend's house in the area of 17th Street and 20th Avenue N, police said. She never came back, and a missing persons report was filed the next day. Nine years later, a bulldozer clearing brush from an area in Maximo Park, 6500 34th St. S, uncovered a rolled-up carpet containing the bones of a female, police said. There were no signs of trauma, but the Medical Examiners Office said the cause of death was homicidal violence. The manner of death and her identity was undetermined. Using the bones as a guide, a clay composite of the unidentified woman was reconstructed and sent to law enforcement agencies across the country. Brenda Stevenson, a St. Petersburg Police civilian investigator assigned to the homicide unit who routinely revisits cold cases, submitted forensic evidence of the remains to the FBI. Police said Stevenson then reviewed an FBI list of missing white females over a 10 year period from when the bones were found. She noticed that the Maximo Park clay composite looked a lot like a photo of missing Melinda Harder. Stevenson waited more than a year for DNA results. Based on cheek swabs from Harder's daughter and mother, police said, the DNA proved Stevenson's suspicions. There are no known suspects in Harder's homicide. St. Petersburg Police are now seeking clues about how she died. Police ask that anyone with information call the department at (727) 893-7780 or the confidential tip line at (727) 892-5000.