Aug. 12, 2020
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA – Chesterfield Police have identified a woman whose remains were recovered at a landfill in Chesterfield County in 1986.
On Aug. 7, 1986, workers were unloading trash from the School Street transfer station in Richmond at a Chesterfield landfill when they noticed what appeared to be human remains. Chesterfield police responded, conducted an extensive search and recovered human remains, which were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) for analysis. The OCME determined her manner of death was homicide.
With the assistance of the OCME and the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, Chesterfield County Police worked to identify the woman. A portion of the remains was sent to DNA Labs International, which developed a DNA profile of the unknown victim. DNA Labs International is a private forensic laboratory in Deerfield Beach, Fla., that specializes in DNA extraction from old, degraded and challenging samples such as bones, fingernails and rootless hair shafts.
Last year, detectives in the department’s Unsolved/Major Investigations Group sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Reston, Va., that specializes in DNA phenotyping, which is the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence, and genetic genealogy. Law enforcement agencies use the company’s Snapshot Advanced DNA Analysis Services (Snapshot) to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations.
Using a DNA sample extracted by DNA Labs International, Parabon produced Snapshot trait predictions for the unknown woman. Individual predictions were made for her ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite was produced depicting what the unknown woman may have looked like at 25 years old and with an average body-mass index of 22.
Using data generated from that same DNA extract, Parabon submitted a genetic profile to a public genetic genealogy database for comparison in hopes of finding individuals who share significant amounts of DNA with the unknown subject. These genetic matches served as clues to inform traditional genealogy research: first, family trees of the matches were constructed back to the set of possible common ancestors using a variety of public records including public family trees, obituaries and newspaper archives, after which descendancy research was employed to enumerate the possible identities of the unknown subject. Other information, such as location, triangulation between matches, and ancestry and phenotype (trait) predictions, were used to narrow down the possibilities and a report containing Parabon’s findings and recommendations was presented to the agency.
The Chesterfield detectives then used traditional police work to continue the investigation and subsequently approached a purported family member of the victim who assisted investigators by voluntarily providing a DNA sample, which resulted in a close family match to the victim. Additional forensic testing by DNA Labs International confirmed the recovered remains are those of Christy Lynn Floyd, who was 16 years old and lived in the 2300 block of West Grace Street in Richmond at the time of her disappearance.
Investigators are releasing several pictures of Floyd, including a photo of Floyd with a male friend whose identity is unknown. Detectives are working to identify this male. Anyone with information regarding this investigation, including the identity of the unknown male, is urged to contact the Chesterfield County Unsolved/Major Investigations Group at 804-717-6024.
Photos: A photo of Ms. Floyd with the unidentified male is at right and a second photo of Ms. Floyd is below.