Arkansas State Crime Lab on determining Ebby Steppach's remains
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- It took just one day for the Arkansas State Crime Lab to determine the human remains found in an underground drainage pipe at Chalamont Park were those of missing teen Ebby Steppach. But because it had been so long since she went missing (October of 2015), there was little evidence to work with, leaving technicians with only DNA testing and dental identification.
Arkansas State Crime Lab assistant director Cindy Moran explains that whenever they receive remains, they have to decide which way to go about determining who the person is. For instance, if law enforcement has an idea of who the remains may be, dental identification is the quickest way.
"We try to go for dental. Now, that doesn't always work. If we have inconclusive results, say, we don't have enough remains to make that identification, then we will go on to DNA analysis," Moran explained, adding that DNA analyses can take several days.
While it's not optimum to work with such little evidence, Moran says, technicians will continue testing Steppach's skeletal remains, looking for any signs of trauma that may have been inflicted upon her.
"Law enforcement is anxious, families who have missing loved ones are anxious. So that's one thing we want to expedite, but more importantly we want o make sure we make the correct identification," she said.
It's in these meticulous and sometimes painstaking processes, Moran says, that accuracy comes above all else.
The crime lab encourages everyone to provide law enforcement with their DNA samples in the event that a loved one were to go missing. Having family DNA to work with speeds up the process in identifying remains.
You can also visit https://namus.gov/ , a national database of unidentified and missing persons.
https://www.neverforgotten.ar.gov/ is also a database, but for missing Arkansans. Family members can enter their missing loved one's information there.