Editorial: Identification of WB girl’s remains gives science a human face
Science has taken a hit lately, with too many people deciding they just don’t trust it. Mixed messages about the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated this trend, although as noted earlier, much of the changing information about the new virus could be attributed to how science works: it discovers something useful, digs further, learns more and adapts accordingly. Science that does not change is not science, it is history.
But the fact that science works – and works well – stares us in the face every moment of every day. Your computer is a science, your smartphone is a science, your photos and digital files are a science, just like the hard drive and/or the cloud where they are stored. Your car is a science, your GPS guide is a science (big, complicated, space-age science). If you take them, your blood pressure medications and statins are scientific. Your weather forecasts (much more accurate than many people admit) are scientific. Even the material you sprinkle on sidewalks to melt ice is science. Your flat screen TV is a science, and so are all the shows you watch live, on cable, or streamed online.
So yeah, bash science if you will, it’s definitely flawed. But don’t pretend you don’t trust him. Indeed, most people who try to prove why they distrust certain sciences do so using web searches, i.e. they use science.
The relentless improvement in science and the impact it has had on lives was highlighted Tuesday when Pennsylvania State Police, Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce and the The Lucerne Foundation’s executive director, David Pedri, held a joint press conference to announce a major breakthrough in a 53-year-old missing person case.
Human remains found along Alden Mountain Road in Newport Township in 2012 – specifically a skull – have been positively identified as Joan Marie Dymond, a 14-year-old who finished dinner at her home in Wilkes -Barre on June 25, 1969, told her parents she was going to a park and was never seen again.
“On November 17, 2012, a woman digging in a trash-filled depression in the ground came upon the victim’s remains,” Trooper Andrew Morgantini said. The site has been excavated and the remains have been examined by scientists with different specific skills. Forensic anthropologists, a forensic odontologist and a DNA testing facility.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped by providing leads on missing women and creating facial reconstruction. The tests continued for years. In August 2021, the remains were carbon dated at the Beta Analytic Carbon Dating Service in Miami, revealing that the girl died in the late 1960s, narrowing the cases of missing girls that investigators have looked into in relation to the remains. .
In March, the remains went to Othram, Inc. for genetic genealogy testing, paid for by the Luzerne Foundation — giving new meaning to the agency’s slogan “Here for Good.” Othram’s results led police to the Dymond family, who provided DNA samples.
Tuesday’s news was the result of steady improvements in all the science used to perform the identification. What has been discovered in recent years could not have been discovered even ten years ago, and will be discovered much more quickly in another case ten years from now.
The results don’t “reduce sadness,” as Dymond’s older sister, Suzanne Estock, noted. But it’s an invaluable piece of needed closure: “I’m glad she was found.”
And it’s hard to put a more human face on science.
— Head of Times