9 years of sleuthing and DNA put name to '48 crash victim





It took nine years of sleuthing and advanced DNA science and cutting-edge forensic techniques, but a mummified hand and arm found in an Alaska glacier have been identified.

The remains belong to Francis Joseph Van Zandt, a 36-year-old merchant mariner from Roanoke, Va., who was on a plane rumored to contain lots of gold when it smashed into the side of a mountain in 1948. Thirty people died in the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 4422.

"This is the oldest identification of fingerprints by post-mortem remains," said latent-fingerprint expert Mike Grimm Sr., during a teleconference Friday, where the two pilots who found the remains, genetic scientists, genealogists and others talked about the discovery.



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