Remains of missing student? DNA may tell

Mayuko "Mayu" Kawase
Mayuko "Mayu" KawaseOklahoma City Police Department / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Investigators will analyze DNA from the parents of a student who has been missing nearly six years to determine if bones found in woods last month were hers.

Mayuko "Mayu" Kawase, a 21-year-old student at Oklahoma City Community College, was last seen in August 2001 at her home in south Oklahoma City. She was reported missing by her family in Japan.

Oklahoma City detectives contacted the girl's parents this week for the DNA samples that can be compared to the bones, police Capt. Steve McCool said Thursday.

Homicide Detective Bill Lord said the testing could take up to two months.

"It is very difficult for the family living there and having their daughter here," Lord said. "They want to get closure and, obviously, find out if that's their daughter."

The remains were uncovered last month by a group of young hikers at the Boy Scouts' Camp Kickapoo in far southeast Oklahoma City. Several boys discovered a human skull and took it to the leader of their church group, who notified police. Additional bones were found in the area that matched the skull.

A forensic anthropologist determined the bones belonged to an Asian or Hispanic female between the ages of 18 and 25, said Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the state medical examiner's office. The remains were between 2 and 10 years old. The anthropologist was unable to determine the cause of death.

Police have no suspects, homicide detective Bill Lord said. The case is difficult because investigators have little physical evidence and no crime scene.