Remains identified in 1998 Portage County cold case

Published: Apr. 25, 2016 at 7:59 AM CDT
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The Portage County Sheriff's Office is reporting that human remains from a case that went cold in 1998 are now identified.

In a press release on the department's Facebook page Monday, the office reported that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was able to identify the remains as Susan M. Glaser, 36 of West Allis. Glaser has been reported missing since July of 1995.

The case dates back to a call that came into the Portage County Sheriff's Office on May 11, 1998. Officers said the caller claimed to have found what looked to be human bones in the Tomorrow River near the then existing wayside off of US Highway 10 in the Town of Amherst. After an extensive search of the area, deputies found a pelvis and two lumbar vertebrae along with several pieces of clothing. Initially, the bones were just confirmed as human, but were not linked to a particular person. The evidence was submitted for DNA testing, however the sheriff's office reported the tests failed to match any known people; investigators exhausted all leads, and the case went cold.

In Minnesota, the Ramsey County Attorney's Criminal Division submitted a request to have a copy of the DNA profile in February of 2014. It was continuing to look into a missing person case from 1997 and believed there could be a match. The news release said those two cases did not match up, but with the advancement of DNA technology and testing, suggested that a new test be run on the remains. The Minnesota BCA received the remains in April 2014, and completed testing that May. It confirmed, again that the remains were not related to the Ramsey County case, but did submit the results to the National Missing Person DNA Database as part of standard operating procedure.

The release said Minnesota BCA contacted the Portage County Sheriff's Office in July of 2014 to tell them that the updated sample matched a missing person profile from West Allis submitted by the Police Department back in 1995. The Police Department had requested the details of these finding remain confidential to allow investigators time to follow-up on new leads, potential suspects and continue the cold case.

According to the release, no suspects are in custody and the case is still being investigated by the West Allis Police Department, Portage County Sheriff’s Office, and Portage County Coroner’s Office. Those with information on the case are asked to contact Detective Vanderwerf of the West Allis Police Department at (414) 302-8079, or the West Allis Crime Stoppers at (414) 476-CASH (2274), the Portage County Sheriff’s Office at (715) 346-1400, or Portage County Crime Stoppers at (888) 346-6600.