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Female remains linked to 1972 disappearance

Human remains found last year in a shallow grave near the Suncadia Resort in Ronald, in Washington’s Kittitas County, belong to a 22-year-old Seattle woman who disappeared from the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood nearly 40 years ago, according to the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office.

DNA recovered from the remains has been matched to a sample provided by the family of Kerry May-Hardy, who went missing in June 1972, Undersheriff Clayton Myers said today. Her disappearance was reported at the time to Seattle police by May-Hardy’s mother.

Myers said that, in 2004, the woman’s family provided a DNA sample to the King County Sheriff’s Office in connection with its investigation into the Green River killings.

However, Meyer said there is no connection at this point to Gary Ridgway, who was known to prey on prostitutes and confessed to killing 49 women in the 1980s and ‘90s. Detectives in that case were gathering information on all missing and murdered women in the Northwest.

Last September, a backhoe crew was digging a trench for a water line when it unearthed human remains, Myers said. Found with the bones were a gold wedding band and some blue material, according to a news release at the time. Attempts to identify the remains through dental records proved fruitless, so the detectives — routine in these sort of cases — sent a small bone fragment to the University of North Texas’ Center for Human Remains in an attempt to match its DNA to a missing person.

Meantime, Myers said his detectives put together a forensic composite sketch of the woman based on the skeletal remains. May-Hardy’s family contacted the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office after seeing a media release of the sketch, saying they believed it closely resembled the missing woman.

On Wednesday, the center reported that it had matched the bone sample to the DNA provided by the dead woman’s mother.

The area the body was found in was heavily wooded in 1972, Myer said. The gravesite was located about two miles off Interstate 90, and about 100 yards off a small road that was in the area at the time.

The time frame of her disappearance falls close to a string of disappearances in the Northwest later attributed to serial killer Ted Bundy. Again, Myer said it was too early in the investigation to comment.

“We just barely identified her. We don’t have any more than that,” Meyer said. His detectives have contacted the Seattle Police Department to obtain details of its investigation into May-Hardy’s disappearance, he said.

Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt had no information on the investigation.