Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

by Jefferson Bass

Book #7 in the FBI Profiler series, published 2015

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In 1978, 56-year-old Leoma Patterson left a bar in Clinton, Tennessee, and was never seen again. Six months later, a female skeleton was found on a wooded lakeshore in a neighboring county.

The bones were consistent with those of the missing woman, and one of Patterson’s daughters recognized a ring found at the death scene as her mother’s. The bones were buried, and six years later, a relative of Patterson’s—one of the men she was last seen alive with—confessed to killing her. Case closed.

But the tentative identification—made years before DNA testing was available to confirm it—failed to convince some of Patterson’s relatives. And so it was that in 2005 Dr. Bass found himself winding around hairpin curves to the mountainside grave, where he would unearth the disputed remains and collect DNA samples.

The forensic twists and turns that followed would test the limits of DNA technology … and of Dr. Bass’s half-century of forensic knowledge.