CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It was a missing persons case that turned into a cold case murder, and now there's a new twist.
On Monday, on the 15th anniversary of Nicole Bowers' disappearance, Channahon police say they have recently uncovered some new evidence.
FOX 32’s Larry Yellen reports on why police say the passage of time could help them solve the case.
“We know that Nicole left her home at some point, on the night of August the second, late in the evening, she was last seen by her mother. She did not return,” said Channahon Police Deputy Chief Adam Bogart.
Fifteen years ago last night, Nicole Bowers was watching TV in the living room of her mother's townhouse in Morris. By 5 a.m. the next morning, she had vanished. Her mother waited about a week to report her disappearance to police, who initially treated the case as a runaway.
Almost three years after the teenager disappeared, a surveyor doing some work in a field about two miles from the family home uncovered a human jawbone. Police eventually uncovered about one third of a human skeleton, and determined using dental records that it belonged to Nicole Bowers.
The 17-year-old's death was eventually ruled a homicide by blunt trauma. And now, prosecutors and police revealed that evidence gathered near the skeleton has now yielded some DNA samples, thanks to technology that wasn't available at the time.
“This search yielded items of evidentiary value that have recently been sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis and DNA was detected,” said Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland.
The DNA will be sent to a national database for a possible match. Nicole's parents were separated at the time she disappeared. Her mother had a boyfriend and her father has since remarried. Police say the passage of time will hopefully lead some witnesses to come forward with evidence they concealed years ago.
“Fifteen years ago, relationships were different, as well, and we're hoping that some of the relationships that existed then, you know, people can put that behind them and come forward and give us more information concerning Nicole’s disappearance and death,” Bogart said.
Police have also set up the Nicole Bowers Homicide Investigation Facebook page, where they hope to receive new information regarding the case and can keep the public posted on its progress.